I met Steve “the Hurricane” Weiss in 2015 at a home care conference in Virginia where he spoke in how to grow home care with power partners. Steve is the founder and CEO of Hurricane Marketing Hurricane which provides marketing expertise in the home care and home health sector.

Anne-Lise: “Steve, where do you see home care going in the next 3 years?”

Steve: “Home care is still a great business to be in. There are still opportunities to start a successful business today. However, affordability of private care is a challenge. The distribution of wealth in our country is such that fewer people might be able to afford it. Agencies need to think about profitability at a time where agency costs are rising.

Because fewer families will be willing to pay for companion services, home care has to justify its service by focusing on the medical side. More families will need support to manage the care of homebound seniors.

Home care needs to establish a partnership with adult children to support the care of a faraway aging parent. When I worked in home care, our agency was billing over $100,000 a week because we were providing care management and coordination to clients and families.

Agencies need to deliver quality care, create trust with families and demonstrate their value daily. There is a real need for trusted partners when caring for aging parents. Those who do these things will thrive.

Anne-Lise: “What are the keys to success in home care?”

Steve: “Agencies need clinical assets to be a trusted partner and a player in the continuum of care. This means having clinical knowledge on staff with a nurse. Clinical knowledge is demonstrated with solid intake procedures.

Home care is still a little-known partner in healthcare. Don’t assume people understand what home care does, even when talking to healthcare professionals. We need to educate partners so they see the value we bring.

Each agency needs to brand itself with a clear and concise message. Pick a lane. Choose a specific population or specialize in a disease. For example in my home care agency, we focused on providing care for the sickest of the sick, those with the greatest needs. Social workers referred the frailest patients to us. You might get fewer patients but it is much more profitable.

With greater recognition comes greater responsibility. Home care needs to deliver on its promise. That’s where many agencies get in trouble. They are willing to say anything to get a referral but then they can’t deliver the care.

Agencies doing Medicare work suffer from low reimbursement rates in many states. As the cost of the double compliance on the medical side and the HR side increase, margins are shrinking. By developing a hybrid model of CMS and private duty under one roof, agencies will improve profitability. CMS agencies master the clinical side. They are very good at it because they have years of experience. To be successful in the hybrid model, they now need to learn sales and marketing to expand into private duty.

Anne-Lise: “Is that what you will cover at the boot camp in Colorado this July?”

Steve: “That’s right. This boot camp is about operations and sales. We teach how to market your home care business putting the medical aspect in focus. To grow the business, agency owners have to develop a corporate mindset and create systems. They have to stop thinking “it’s good enough” and look to create a corporate business.”

Learn more about Steve the Hurricane Weiss at the Hurricane Marketing website.