Gas Prices Are on the Rise. Are Your Post-Acute Sales Reps Going in the Right Direction? 

By Jess Chew | June 6, 2022

Gas prices are on the rise across the country. AAA is reporting that the national average cost of a gallon of gas is currently $4.865, up from $3.036 this time last year. And, while the IRS has increased its business mileage reimbursement rate to $0.585 per mile (up $0.025 from 2021), post-acute sales reps and agencies are still feeling the squeeze. 

As fuel prices rise, agencies and sales reps cannot afford to spend precious gas and time on the wrong target accounts. As a result, it’s more important than ever to guide your post-acute sales reps to spend their time and mileage on the highest potential referral sources. Let’s explore a few ways your team can improve efficiency, save on gas, and increase admissions. 

Use market intelligence to identify and target the right accounts 

The first step in saving gas (and other resources) is to identify the right accounts to gain the most ROI for your team’s time and miles. In order to do this, you need market intelligence with a clear view of your market, how you stand with your current top referring partners, and your growth potential with those accounts. It’s important to look at how many referrals you get from each physician in your market, as well as how many patients they’re sending to other agencies. This can help you not only focus on your top accounts but also shift the conversation with those referral sources to be as productive as possible.  

With visibility into your current standing with your referring partners, you have a clear starting point to make strategic decisions – such as determining if it will be more profitable to focus on educating existing partners and targeting new partners that are underutilizing your agency, or a combination of the two. 


Get the most from your gas money with top targeting strategies 

A few key metrics can help you build a more effective targeting strategy. These include: 

  • Underutilization 
  • Unaffiliated Physicians 
  • Competitor-Affiliated Physicians 



Based on our most recent analysis of Medicare claims data, less than 53% of Medicare FFS patients are discharged from inpatient stays with post-acute care instructions nationwide. While this is an alarming statistic, it also offers an opportunity for growth. Start by identifying physicians in your market who are not referring to post-acute care as often as their peers, despite having a significant population of post-acute-eligible patients.  

These are physicians who aren’t currently referring to any post-acute organization on a regular basis, making them prime candidates for strong referral relationships with your agency. By educating them on the benefits of your care setting, your sales reps can increase referrals and position both themselves and your organization as a trusted advisor. Check out more info on developing a targeting strategy using underutilization metrics here.  


Unaffiliated Physicians 

Another top targeting strategy is to identify physicians in your market who don’t appear to have a preferred post-acute care referral partner. Unlike underutilizing physicians, these providers understand the value of home health, hospice, and skilled nursing; they just haven’t developed a strong relationship with a particular agency in their area. When you target these accounts, encourage your sales reps to share the value of your specific organization. Show them data points that demonstrate how you stand out in the market in terms of decreasing readmission rates, lowering costs, and improving outcomes. If you have a specialization for a population they serve, be sure to point this out too. We’ve put together more helpful tips on targeting strategies for unaffiliated physicians here.     


Competitor-Affiliated Physicians 

Similar to unaffiliated physicians, competitor-affiliated physicians understand the value of post-acute care. However, these are physicians who’ve demonstrated an existing preference for one or two of your competitors. Your strategy here should also be similar to your strategy with unaffiliated physicians: Use performance metrics to build a case for your organization. In this case, though, take a look at the data from your competitors and find the areas where you stand out in comparison with them. Look at the patient populations that the physician is referring to your competitor(s) and refer to the metrics where you can help them lower costs and improve overall outcomes. You can read more about competitor-affiliated targeting strategies here.  

Give your sales reps the resources to succeed on the go 

Along with equipping your sales reps with the data they need to target the right accounts, you can do a couple of things to help them get the most out of their mileage. Two great tools for this are mileage tracking and GPS mapping applications. 


Start with tracking mileage. When you understand where your reps are going and how far they have to travel to get there, you have a place to start as you determine if they’re getting the best return on investment for their travel. For example, if a rep’s top account is 50 miles away and requires multiple in-person calls each month, are there additional accounts they could be engaging with during those visits? 


GPS mapping can help reps make the most of each visit by finding other potential referral sources nearby. When they’re visiting an account, they can pull up nearby referral sources on a map and increase the value of the miles they’ve already driven. 


Understand your referral-to-admission conversion rates 

While increasing referrals is always a great goal, it shouldn’t be the end goal for your agency. If you have a high referral rate, but your admissions remain low, you’re not reaping the benefits of those referrals. With access to this data in your CRM, you can regularly review how your sales reps’ referrals are converting to admissions, and you can start to investigate where breakdowns are likely to occur. Understanding the reasons why a patient was not admitted for care can be extremely helpful input – and can help you identify optimization opportunities within the intake process, as well as optimize referral targeting and referral source talk tracks.  


Point your post-acute sales team in the right direction today. 

Interested in learning more about technology that can help you put these recommendations into action? If you’re new to Trella, schedule a personalized demonstration today. If you’re already a Trella Health customer, contact your Customer Success Manager to learn more about the different options available to help you and your team get the most out of our solutions. Along with our extensive self-serve content in our Help Centers, we also regularly host live sales rep training, as well as a variety of personalized trainings and consultations. 


About the Author:

Jess Chew, Vice President, Marketing

With more than 10 years’ experience in healthcare marketing, Jessica not only leads our marketing team but is also a passionate advocate and frequent user of our marketing intelligence solutions. After graduating from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s in journalism, Jessica got her start in marketing at Gannett, the largest newspaper publisher in America. She thought this entry-level job was the first step on the road to a career as an investigative reporter — but immediately became hooked on marketing. At Trella Health, she’s able to do all the things she loved about journalism — digging for information and insights, helping people share their stories — and she’s also able to make a meaningful difference in the way post-acute care is provided.