Home Health Care News, Jet Health CEO On Personal Care Expansion, Transitioning Facility-Based Workers To Home

Jet Health CEO On Personal Care Expansion, Transitioning Facility-Based Workers To Home

Amid a difficult workforce environment, Jet Health isn’t just employing one strategy to combat staffing challenges.

The company is beefing up its benefits packages and creating paths for future leaders as part of its efforts.

That’s because its CEO, Stacie Bratcher, believes the workforce issues are long-term ones, and that there will never be a single solution.

Founded in 2016, the Fort Worth, Texas-based Jet Health is a home health, hospice and personal care provider that operates in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and Idaho.

Home Health Care News recently caught up with Bratcher at the Home Care 100 conference, which took place in January in Orlando, Florida. During the course of the conversation, Bratcher also talked about how technology is helping Jet Health enhance its care delivery model, and why personal care is integral to the company’s business.

HHCN: Last time we connected you said that Jet Health has significantly invested in recruitment initiatives to attract skilled members to your team. Can you provide more details on what that looks like?

Bratcher: Our recruitment and retention initiatives have included benefits options that improve the quality of life, such as increased time off, floating holidays, enhanced 401k and health insurance choices. Also career paths, in terms of clinical ladders that might lead to certifications, or advanced specialties for clinicians. We’ve also provided some skills development and training for those people interested in leadership.

As we’ve looked to recruit nurses who may have been in the four walls of the hospital or skilled nursing facility, it’s been a significant transition for them into the home environment. We’ve put in a lot of programs to really help to make that transition better. When we first started recruiting them, we would lose them in the first 90 days, our retention rate was very low. We’ve added a lot of orientation programs, a lot of mentoring programs, and opportunities to help them embrace treating patients in the home. They love it now, but it’s a really difficult transition for some of those folks in the beginning.

In general, do you expect the home-based care labor challenge to improve more this year? Why or why not?

I don’t think we’ll see a significant improvement because we can’t graduate enough new clinicians quickly enough to replace those who are retired. Even those who do come into the workforce, initially, they like to work within the four walls of the hospitals, where they’re surrounded by other peers who can mentor them.

Until those graduating classes start to come of age and get some experience, they don’t feel comfortable stepping into the home care environment. I think we’re still probably a couple years away.

Another goal Jet Health had was to expand the use of technology to supplement its care delivery model. Can you talk about the specifics there, and the impact it’s had on outcomes so far?

Sure, we’re using technology, through telehealth, to supplement time in between our in-person visits, provide on-demand access and to prevent hospitalizations. Remote monitoring allows us to capture small changes in a patient’s status prior to an exacerbation, or need to transfer to the hospital. The information available through remote monitoring has allowed our clinicians to decide if a patient needs an immediate visit, or if contact with the physician for a visit should be made to address the concern.

This has allowed us to decrease our hospitalization rates, improve our patient satisfaction and increase our clinician satisfaction as well. It allows the patient to have some comfort, knowing that someone is monitoring their vital signs, be it their blood pressure, oxygen saturation or weight change for any congestive heart failure patients.

For our clinicians, it allows them to know that even if they’re only seeing a patient, for example, twice per week, they still have a week’s worth of information for them. They can put together a much better clinical impression of what’s going on with the patient. If there are changes, the clinician can reach out to the physician. If the clinician needs to change medication, we can do that. Our care is so much better, because we have so much more information.

How is the company adjusting operations in light of current and potential future rate cuts?

We’ve really looked at, what are our back office functions that maybe we have some redundancy in? Do we have pieces where we’re opening a file, doing a piece of it, reopening a file, doing another piece, reopening a file, doing another piece? Can we consolidate that?

Instead of looking at the front-end, where we’re providing the care, we are really trying to look at the back-end to see if we have any savings opportunities in those locations.

Are there other areas of home-based care that Jet Health is making a strong effort to move into this year? In general, what opportunities are you most excited about?

Our personal care line makes up about 10% of our business today, but I feel like it’s very important in order to help individuals stay in their home. Sometimes there’s a gap in what skilled home health or hospice can cover. That personal care business opportunity can provide some of those pieces in order to keep that individual in the home. That personal care is the piece that’s missing. For us, really looking at the opportunity to expand our personal care services is exciting for us this year.

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