If, like many care providers, you have more empty beds that usual, then will you, like most, take what clients you can at any price in order to fill those beds? Or will you be strategic, and make this situation the moment you turned around the financial fortunes of your care home business?
Right now, and possibly for months to come, most of your new clients will come directly from the NHS, with only urgent and end of life cases coming from your local authorities.
During this crisis the NHS is less inclined to quibble about fees and will look to review at some later date.
So, what will you do? Will you…
- Accept any fee, or bid low enough, if it means you will fill the bed, or
- Set the fee you’ll actually need so you can care for that person and still make a profit?
Will you take option 1 because you just need to get your beds filled and is your reaction to option 2 more like, “Profit? Are you crazy? We’re bidding to desperately get people in our beds so I’ll take what I can right now.”?
If so, just take a few minutes and read why I say you really need to choose option 2 and why.
There has never been a better time to set the fees you really need and to turn the financial fortune of your care home business around.
How much has the rise in the national living wage cost you? How much will it cost you for the rest of the year?
At the start of April the national living wage (NLW) increased by 6.5% to £8.20 for 21-24 year olds and by 6.2% to £8.72 for those 25 and over.
How much will your monthly staff bill increase by – £7000, £8000, more? A 50-bed nursing home’s staff bill could easily increase by £10,000 a month or more.
How will this year’s increase affect your care home and have you got it covered?
We are in unprecedented times – our prime minister nearly died, we cannot visit loved ones, the news talks about one thing only, a 100-year old man raises over £20million and counting for the NHS, every Thursday evening people everywhere clap for our frontline workers and daily we hear heartbreaking stories.
Economically we are in trouble – thousands of businesses have closed for an unknown period and many of them won’t reopen. Most private sectors are in a terrible economic crisis. Few exceptions include companies that make and supply the PPE and testers and all the other equipment we need to tackle this pandemic, supermarkets, domestic oil suppliers and social care.
Actually, let me re-phrase that… social care should be an exception, shouldn’t be in financial crisis but is and has been for years. With year-on-year record care home insolvencies, the social care sector has been in crisis for so long it almost feels like the norm.
But ironically, as we try and get through this awful pandemic, there as never been a better time to make your care home financially healthy. Demand for your beds has never been greater and councils have been given the funding to pay what you need and free up much needed NHS beds. (I know not all councils are doing that but that’s another matter.)
At the risk of being indelicate, when you take on new clients from your customers – your local authorities and CCGs, be brave enough to set the fee you really need and resist the pressure to reduce it.
Just to really drum this home…there has never been a better time to set and receive the fees you need in order to maintain a financially healthy, well-run care home and to turn this sector around for good.
You and your people are battling to care for your residents and keep them safe whilst possibly losing colleagues to self-isolation and fighting to get the PPE you need.
And whilst your people are at the coal face working hard to keep your clients safe and well, as registered manager and/or owner what are you doing? What do your people need you to be doing – aside from getting them more PPE?
What is your top priority?
Are you prepared for the fax ban? Do you have an NHSMail email address to be able to work with the NHS and your local health services when they will no longer use fax machines at the end of March?
Mmmm? What’s that Chris?
In case you didn’t get the memo (faxes can be so unreliable), the NHS and related health services are supposed to be fax machine free by the end of March. They will no longer accept faxes from you but will only work with you using their NHSMail platform.
If you still haven’t got NHSMail accounts for your care homes, then act now because time is fast running out.
It’s coming up for that time of year when new draft contracts and overviews of proposed fees will start to appear from councils and CCGs.
You have to make some vital decisions that could have huge consequences on the financial viability of your care home(s). Regardless of whether you run a residential care home or a nursing home, you must know what you’re signing up to.
I’ve written this to help you better critique the information and understand the potential impact of signing-up to these contracts.