Author: Harper Dion
Posted: October 24, 2023
Providing flawless care to those aging-in-place through home health services, or those receiving end-of-life care in the hospice setting is an imperative task for post-acute caregivers. This already sensitive responsibility leaves little room for error as the industry by nature is all about quality and comfort. The sensitivity to detail and quality becomes increasingly difficult when considering the volatile regulatory environment created by entities governing post-acute administration. To dedicate one’s career to post-acute care, it is essential to hold an unwavering passion for the wellbeing of others. Oftentimes these caregivers are so dedicated to the care aspect that the increased burden of documentation and back-office decision making causes burnout and stress, distracting them from their true calling. Although everyone’s training and expertise lies within different areas, many times agencies will experience pushback when attempting to centralize as the word often holds the negative connotation of bureaucratic implementation, lack of transparency, and removal of tasks and responsibilities. Although these common pushbacks are valid, centralization is an incredibly beneficial process., It is imperative to change the dialogue of centralization towards the discussion of strategic alignment. Regardless of definition there are many pros and cons to consider while deciding whether your agency could benefit from a strategic alignment.
At its core, centralization is a concentration of administrative decision-making, ensuring management and operations are aligned toward the goal of success. In a centralized agency, essential operational decisions and resources are managed by leadership structures, allowing caregivers and skilled providers to focus solely on their areas of expertise. The pushback comes from the belief that this decision is dampening autonomy and creating a more intense environment. Many times, employees equate the silencing of their opinions with an increase in micromanagement and control. Furthermore, restructuring jobs to have fewer responsibilities can be misconstrued as a removal of trust instead of a more efficient allocation. Many arguments can be made to raise red flags against centralization, the most common of which are as follows:
Power Concentration: Centralized systems decrease the spread of management and self-governance. If done incorrectly it is easier for management to become overbearing.
Lessened Transparency: It’s easier for one entity of management to keep decisions confidential. This can make it increasingly difficult to hold management accountable for mistakes.
Resistance to change: Centralized systems have concrete structures of leadership; it is common for these entities to resist new adaptations due to already established success in current structures and processes.
At the core of these common pushbacks lies the main issue of decreased employee satisfaction. With an increase in the power of management, it makes sense for employees to be weary of decreased autonomy and scope. It is an understandable red flag to lose responsibilities within one’s role, and although all concerns are justified, a proper centralization focused on strategic alignment will avoid these issues and bring many improvements to the process and workflow.
Although this process raises red flags to some, overall, it brings positive change if approached from a healthy angle. With the intensity of regulatory requirements in the post-acute world, miscommunication between departments and their processes leads to scrutiny and overall disarray. An agency that is successful in identifying the department of contention will then have the opportunity to restructure, ensuring processes and initiatives are aligned towards the same common goal. The ultimate outcome is increased communication and harmony, resulting in improved processes and productivity. Despite the initial pains of centralizing processes, the end result addresses the root causes of operational turmoil while improving patient outcomes and supporting longevity.
The resistance to this initiative is no surprise, oftentimes the word centralization holds the negative connotation of layoffs, less autonomy, and increased operational burden. Although this initiative isn’t right for every agency, it is essential to redefine the process as strategic alignment. The proven benefits outweigh the fears associated with this negative connotation of centralization. In most cases the apparent increase in problems stems from clarity. Centralizing communications and documentation acts as a medium to expose pre-existing issues, from there the empowered leadership can properly address the causes, increasing the success and productivity of the agency. Furthermore, strategic alignment doesn’t remove jobs – it removes burnout. A properly aligned agency ensures each professional is focused solely on their area of passion and expertise. This restructuring creates opportunities for growth and success at every level, fostering retention and passion within the responsibilities of each professional.
Navigating possible next steps amid agency turmoil is no easy task, especially when clinician and patient satisfaction is on the line. Assistance from an outside entity is instrumental in compiling a full unbiased overview of your operational discrepancies. MHA’s team of experts provide a tailored catalog of solutions best fit to goals and intricacies of your agency. Beginning with an assessment, our team identifies the areas of the problem, creating a plan for the easiest possible resolution. Regardless of the issue, our team gives you direct access to industry leading experts across RCM, operations, training, analytics, and technology. If you’re ready to achieve your agency’s goals, contact us at [email protected] or visit www.maxwellhca.com.