According to industry reports, the U.S. population aged 65 years and above is expected to reach 95 million by 2060 from 52 million in 2018. Note that the high prevalence of cancer, dementia, respiratory, cardiovascular, and kidney diseases among the geriatric population is expected to further propel the market growth.

Owing to that, for anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit willing to meet the real healthcare needs of people, the hospice industry presents a very viable opportunity.

Aside from being a very lucrative investment, starting a hospice business also provides a vast range of benefits – both professional and personal. Coupled with the clinical aspects of care, a hospice agency attends to patients and their families during their most challenging moments.

These businesses strive to offer compassionate assistance to patients and families in need of psycho-social and spiritual support. By leveraging the care these businesses offer, patients and their families tend to get a much higher quality of life and can spend more time together.

According to reports, the hospice care market is witnessing sustained growth as both demographic and pandemic pressures combine to create a massive potential client base — one that’s focused on the holistic quality of care, rather than simply its affordability.

However, while this makes available a substantive opportunity for hospice providers, it also comes with a challenge: Increasing competition in the industry entails that businesses are expected to do more to stand out from the crowd. To be noted as a great hospice business, here are characteristics your business should buttress.

Characteristics of a Great Hospice Business

  1. A Clear Vision

One of the foremost characteristics that define a great hospice business is a clear vision that strives to meet community needs. In this line of business, a detailed community assessment would show you the right direction to go. In the United States, there are varying types of home health & hospice agencies.

While some prefer to focus only on non-medical daily living assistance for seniors and disabled persons, some are fully fitted with well-trained nurses and therapists that strive to take care of medical needs! To make your vision a reality, you must put it into writing by creating a well-detailed business plan and also seek effective ways of marketing your vision to the community.

  1. Adequate Licensing

No one would want to work or align with a hospice business that is not adequately registered or considered legal in the eyes of the law. Most often, hospice businesses leverage the expertise of a good consulting firm to ensure they scale through the complex legal processes necessary to be considered legal. They also leverage experienced senior consultants to expedite the process to licensure.

Depending on your location, your hospice agency may have to be incorporated with a Tax ID. You will also be expected to acquire an NPI (National Provider Identification) number with Medicare/Medicaid. Note that your licensing requirements will vary from state to state; however, consider seeking legal or expert guidance to ensure you are prepared for a successful practice.

  1. Medicare Accreditation

Since a better percentage of the income these businesses make are reimbursements from Medicare (Parts A and B), they are expected to go through the certification process. This most often involves a three-day Medicare survey where your policies/ procedures, record keeping, and clinical practice will be analyzed extensively.

It is recommended you consider aligning with experts to prepare you to pass the first time. Most often, hospice agencies prefer accreditation from CHAP, ACHC, or JCO instead of the Medicare certification every three years. Note that accrediting bodies tend to hold agencies to all Medicare Conditions of Participation coupled with standards of excellence above and beyond Medicare/ Medicaid.

  1. Effective Recruitment and Retention Strategies

To be considered a great hospice business, you will be expected to develop effective recruitment and retention strategies. Note that hiring well-trained and reputable staff members who offer top-quality care is key to achieving any business mission. As a hospice business, once you fail to fill your ranks with ethical staff members, you could retain staff but fail to retain clients.

You can choose to hire some staff directly full-time, some part-time, and contract out other specialists. You will have to carry out a detailed and thorough background check on anyone who will be working under your agency’s name, to protect patients, avoid a possible lawsuit, and protect your agency’s reputation.

  1. ICD-10 Readiness

In this line of business, you should understand that cash flow and reimbursement rates depend on efficient, accurate, and complete ICD medical coding practices. To do this accurately, you must train in-house coders or leverage the expertise of a 3rd-party ICD-10 coding partner. Your clinicians will require comprehensive documentation training to back up coders and ensure everyone is on the same page.

  1. Well Developed Manuals

To be considered a great hospice business and also to run your agency efficiently from day one, you will have to put together detailed administrative policy and procedure manuals, employee handbooks, forms manuals, and other crucial organizational tools. Note that doing this on time can save you valuable time, money, and ensure your business grows with employees and workers who align well with your visions.

  1. Effective Software

In this modern age, note that your hospice business will need advanced medical equipment and computerized record-keeping to be considered a viable option in the market. A flourishing agency may update software systems as needed, howbeit, a new startup agency will have to make the choice carefully to find the most effective software program to suit its needs.

Note that you can leverage the expertise of a consultant to ensure that your agency does not make the costly mistake of choosing the wrong software.

A good number of hospices are Medicare certified, but how they choose to offer end-of-life care can vary. Also, have it in mind that there are differences in the services, programs, and levels of support provided. Nonetheless, mentioned above are the top characteristics and qualities that define a great hospice business.