On LinkedIn, PT Joshua Lee recently wrote that healthcare professionals are essentially in the business of hope…hope that providing a patient centric and engaged patient rehabilitation process will result in successful/complete healing. Lee suggests that this kind of hope can be a self-fulfilling prophecy, but he admits that patients’ hopes must be tempered by evidence-based research and clinician experience so as not to over promise and under deliver. As healthcare moves away from a fee for services to a fee for outcome approach, rehab pros are often forced to temper their own hopes for successful patient recovery. In a lengthy 2014 article in “The Asha Leader”, Cutter and Polovoy note that too many SNFs rely on Medicare reimbursements for rehabilitative services including speech therapy. This leads them to make unrealistic productivity demands on those therapists, even asking them to treat patients who may not need or benefit from their services in order to increase the facility’s bottom line.
But as the speech language pathologists cited in this article note, achieving maximum productivity goals does not necessarily equate to efficiency… and efficiency does not necessarily equate to successful outcomes with happy patients. Some SLPs have chosen to ignore productivity requirements in an attempt to bring about incremental improvements to their particular facility. Others have sought employment at institutions where satisfied clients is already translating to increased revenues and quality of service is prized over quantity of patient interaction. Without a systems wide philosophical change that reflects the latter and ASHA being able to arbitrate, not just advocate, on behalf of their members, it will be up to the individual therapist to find that balance between what institutions demand of them and their ability to heal their patients.
Have you found solutions for balancing productivity requirements and the needs of your patients? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page. Centra believes that quality of service trumps quantity of service…especially when it comes to finding a work environment that values your input. Let our industry experts show you how!