HAMDEN, Conn., June 6, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The abrupt departure of a c-suite executive or senior leader can stymie any business. When that business faces rapidly evolving regulations and high-stakes client needs, like home care and hospice providers do, the sudden loss of leadership carries a substantial impact. The solution for forward-thinking providers is interim leadership, in which a highly trained veteran enters a role for a limited yet crucial period to ensure continuity of operations.
"Interim leaders help businesses quickly recover from a jarring loss, whether due to retirement, resignation or termination, or to fulfill a new need or position; but they do more than simply fill a void," says Wayne Regan, director at Simione Healthcare Consultants, LLC, the Connecticut-based national consulting firm specializing in home health and hospice business improvement. "Businesses are hiring interim leadership to fill out their talent rosters for a particular task or goal or when they lack certain bench strengths. We are often in there for multiple reasons, and then we craft each solution to each situation.
Simione Healthcare Consultants provides c-suite leadership — CEO, CFO, COO, vice president of operations — as well as clinical management, revenue cycle and project management roles. Most interim executives are available because they are longtime professionals who typically either don't want to work full-time or want greater schedule flexibility, but still want to be of service to companies in need of their expertise. Others are industry veterans between full-time jobs. The duration of interim assignments varies by need – from a few months to long-term assignments of 2 years.
Why businesses tap interim leadership
When New Hampshire-based North Country Home Health & Hospice needed a boost, it hired a Simione interim leader. "They bring so much experience," says North Country president Michael Counter. "You can underline that three times. It's worth it," he says.
A home health and hospice finance executive since 2009, Counter first brought in a Simione interim hospice director when he was CFO with another multi-state agency. He had the very positive experience so many agencies are looking for when they employ interim leaders. Working for North Country, Counter found his organization in need of a hospice expert to chart a new plan for growth. Simione provided an interim hospice director for seven months in 2017 to rebuild its hospice program and help the agency find a permanent director.
The transition from interim to full-time director can be as challenging, but a strong interim leader lays the groundwork with mentoring to help organizations and teams make the transition. "When it was time to go, the interim stepped back yet still supported the new director," Counter says. "I didn't have to ask her that. She just did it. She understood that with this transition, it could go well or not well. She was determined to make it go well." Her actions embody an interim leadership creed: "We leave it behind." That means the interim executive builds something, passes on the lessons and sets the business up for success.
Why interim leaders are critical for home care and hospice
Simione's Wayne Regan sees more utilization of interim leaders than he has in the past. "With so many changes in our industry over the last five to seven years, you need a vast amount of knowledge to run an organization — whether it be operations, finance, home care or hospice. Other factors increasing the need for interim leaders in home care and hospice are industry growth, high staff turnover and evolving regulatory needs. This dynamic makes leadership roles difficult, so organizations fortify with additional, but temporary expertise."
Counter agrees. "One of my main objectives at North Country was to grow the hospice program," he says. "I realized after a couple of months that we needed a higher level of expertise."
Simione helped North Country transform its hospice program. Counter says that while the cost was naturally greater than having a full-time leader in that position, he took the long view. "I wanted to re-build our program from the ground up, and I couldn't think of anyone better to do it," he says. The results were substantial. Hospice business volume is up significantly at North Country. The staff were trained well during the experience. They were able to expand into the skilled nursing setting, gaining up to 20% of their admissions from Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs), which adds value for SNF providers, too.
Meanwhile, North Country's collaborating providers are happy with the program and show more confidence in the agency's hospice services. Their staff has a greater understanding of the benefits of hospice, which they've passed along to families. North Country's improved institutional understanding of hospice has led to it creating new roles. These include a highly experienced hospice nurse who provides services and mentors staff, along with a patient care coordinator who works with providers and families on matters including medication, durable medical equipment, and referral and admission processes. The company has also revamped its hospice volunteer program.
"We had a clear goal in mind," Counter says. "Our Simione interim hospice director set the standard, paved the way and helped us recruit and develop her permanent replacement, leaving behind a great deal of knowledge and process improvements to facilitate our continued success."
Getting started with interim leadership
Simione Healthcare Consultants advances quality and cost efficiency, providing reliable experts, technology and tools to grow and improve home- and community-based services. If your home care or hospice organization needs to replace a leader or fill in some talent gaps, an interim leader might be your best next move. Simione begins the process a thorough review each agency's needs. Start the conversation at www.simione.com/contact/request-service or call 844.215.8825 Visit Simione.com
Contact: Linda Wiseman
SOURCE Simione Healthcare Consultants