Operations Assessments

Psychiatric Hospital Operations Assessments and Planning

“Our hospital needs an independent operations assessment for behavioral health services.”

“Can we improve our inpatient census and outpatient volume?”

“Can we restructure operations and improve the contribution margin while maintaining program quality?”

“How does our provider and staff productivity compare with national benchmarks?”


Operations Assessments for Behavioral Health Services

This specialized fully tailored operations assessment for behavioral health services takes into account the needs of organizations with one or more psychiatric and/or substance abuse treatment services, often in multiple locations, with varied levels of care.

Challenges Facing Psychiatric Services

The challenges facing behavioral health service lines are diverse for each organization, but cluster around the following: financial losses, insufficient cash flow, increasing costs, declining census, revenue cycle issues, staff or provider productivity, competition, governmental mandates, compliance issues, patient satisfaction, debt and bond obligations.


Operations Assessment Steps:

1. On Site Assessment & Key Metrics Review

We provide an operations assessment for behavioral health services to hospitals and health systems, psychiatric inpatient units, residential treatment centers and outpatient clinics. We meet with leadership, physicians, clinicians and staff on site and we conduct a detailed review of key metrics.

We assess all aspects of an organization’s operations and provide a comprehensive report and Management Action Plan to guide improvement. Each assessment is fully tailored to the client, but typical elements of the assessment include:

  • Comprehensive on-site evaluation of the current services including service access, volumes, cash flow, payer mix, quality outcomes, and compliance
  • Analysis of staffing skill mix and productivity, including professionals and physicians with comparison to national benchmarks, metrics and best practices
  • Assessment of operational workflows like patient scheduling, intake, access, movement and coordination between inpatient, outpatient, and emergency department throughput
  • Review of existing marketing efforts and outcomes including payer mix adjustments and managed care contract re-negotiation
  • Information management system review relative to clinical documentation, productivity, billing and receivables
  • Review of management reports, their frequency and usefulness in driving improvement
  • Scorecard of functions relative to best practices – clinical and business / administrative
  • Strategic position relative to market opportunities
  • Review of sentinel events, critical incidents, licensing issues, quality management and improvement indicators and outcomes
  • Evaluation of program model relative to patient population, patient schedule, clinical services, continuum of care, and care coordination structures
  • Best Practice gap analysis comparing clinical and business metrics to national benchmarks and processes
  • Assessment of behavioral health integration structure, model, financial stability and business plan
  • Examination and review of key findings with executive management and identified staff
  • Development of a detailed Management Action Plan (MAP) and sequence that provides a clear path of action for moving forward

2. Report of Findings and Recommendations

This tailored and comprehensive assessment results in a written, detailed, quantified report that details findings, strategies and quantified financial opportunities to improve inpatient census, outpatient volume, net revenue, cash flow and access to care while meeting quality goals.

3. Management Action Plan (MAP) for Performance Improvement

We are uniquely focused on developing and implementing successful “on the ground” operations due to our experience as senior hospital executives and psychiatric hospital owners. Our success with transforming operations comes from connecting real world business requirements to behavioral health operations, and providing the client with unique tools to measure and track performance.


Operations Assessment Benefits

The Management Action Plan is customized for use by your facility and includes a clear, independent and professional evaluation of selected key aspects of the behavioral health services, which may include:

  • Cost effective service delivery efficiency and quality
  • Optimal organizational structure
  • Reduced operating costs
  • Increased average daily census and outpatient volume
  • Increased revenue and revenue cycle efficiency
  • Improved staff and provider productivity
  • Identified market and new program opportunities including specialty units and services
  • Comparison to national benchmarks for select indicators
  • New revenue opportunities
  • Improved clinical outcomes
  • Positioning for continued healthcare reform
  • Innovative behavioral health integration model
  • Gap to best practice from clinical and business perspectives
  • New management tools that weekly report and focus leadership and staff on critical goals and objectives
  • Sequenced Management Action Plan to guide and assist leadership implementing change

Outpatient Behavioral Health Clinics and Agencies

The behavioral health operations assessment for performance improvement addresses the specialized needs of outpatient mental health agencies, social service agencies, addiction treatment clinics, and specialized residential providers. When we conduct an operations assessment and develop a collaborative performance improvement plan for your agency. We are respectful of your unique mission, the specialized service that you offer, and of your dedicated staff that carry out that mission. The collaborative MAP (management action plan) brings real world business solutions to your agency to ensure its mission continues for the long term.

Labor Productivity Improvement

Behavioral health agencies and hospitals with a behavioral health service line are experiencing high demand but lower real reimbursements. The Schafer Consulting team helps behavioral health providers re-engineer operations for optimal functioning without compromising quality of care. Our preference to obtaining improved operations is by improving staff efficiency and reducing costs first.

Quality Improvement

The Schafer Consulting team helps managers gain the skills and utilize operational reports they really need to monitor key indicators that impact cost and quality. Our use of staffing benchmarks or metrics adjusted to acuity and physical environment, and activity studies along with other key tools. These result in practical recommendations that energize managers and staff and lead to improvements in day-to-day operations.

Affordable Care Act: Delivery System Innovation Readiness

The Behavioral Health Operations Assessment and Management Action Plan help health systems and hospitals with behavioral health service lines, residential treatment centers and community behavioral health agencies innovate and establish the financial and operational foundation for successful delivery system innovations like: Integrated Behavioral Health and Primary Care, a Behavioral Health Home, Accountable Care Organization, and Care Management projects involving financial risk. Please see our Behavioral Health Integration services page for more information.


Talk to us

Since 1993, Schafer Consulting has worked on operations assessment projects throughout the United States and Canada, for clients ranging from large hospital systems and behavioral health service lines, to small, mission-driven social service agencies. We look forward to speaking with you about your specific needs. Call (724) 213-0200 or contact us in confidence.