Case managers do double duty as marketing reps

Increase in referrals is documented

When the admissions coordinators from Floyd Rehabilitation Center in Rome, GA, go into the community to screen patients, they also set up appointments to call on other providers in the area to tell them about the hospital's services.

Because the hospital draws from a large area, this strategy saves money and staff time by eliminating the need for someone else to drive up to 100 miles round trip for marketing calls, says Karen Sablon, case management director.

In 1993, the first year the rehab center was open, the highest number of referrals in one month was 50 patients. Referrals increased steadily to a high of 62 in one month in fiscal 1994, 77 in 1995, 88 in 1996, and 110 in 1997.

The pediatric case manager's duties also include meeting with parents of babies in the neonatal intensive care unit to let them know pediatric rehab services are available at Floyd.

The case manager tells the parents she can answer questions about developmental issues, such as a baby who is a slow feeder. Medical staff are available to answer medical questions, but often it is the developmental issues that parents worry about most, Sablon says.

"We are making sure these babies don't fall through the cracks, but we are also marketing ourselves at the same time," Sablon says.

To generate referral to the hospital's new occupational health component, the case management department plans to place case facilitators in its urgent care center, its emergency room, and with its affiliated primary care physicians group.

"The facilitators would refer any workers' compensation cases to an occupational health case manager so we can make sure the person injured on the job gets everything they need and that their employer is aware of our services," Sablon says.

Sablon's department works closely with the hospital's marketing department and public relations department, but the rehab case management department does most of its own marketing.

For instance, if there is a pediatric conference in the area, the pediatric case manager attends it. When the day hospital opened in August 1997, the case management department hosted a breakfast and open house for area physicians.