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TCIV: Simple steps to improve KPIs, working in a hospital system, and the new paid search landscape

December 11, 2018
A running theme emerged during a panel on key performance indicators at the Treatment Center Investment & Valuation Retreat on Tuesday in Scottsdale, Arizona: Simple steps can create immense value. Matthew Dorman, founder and CEO of Credible Behavioral Health Software, for example, advised attendees to start with five data points and grow from there. “By starting small, you can do a good job with key data as opposed to doing poorly with a lot of data.” At several points throughout the discussion, Dan Gemp, CEO of Dreamscape Marketing, advocated for trackable marketing tools, such as unique phone numbers and landing pages for every point of an organization’s outreach, from ads to contact information for outreach representatives. This allows treatment centers to pinpoint the sources generating business – and the ones that aren’t. Cory Mertz, managing partner at Mertz Taggart, stressed the importance of accuracy in reporting. “Without accuracy, it’s hard for a buyer to trust what they’re looking at,” he said. Buyers discovering they have been given bad data can lead to a need to renegotiate deals—or have deals fall apart entirely. Lessons from the hospital world Foundations Recovery Network CEO Matt Feehery touched on the challenges of treatment providers working within a larger hospital system. Such providers enjoy the benefits of an affiliation with a large brand, cost and overhead advantages, and deeper support and resources for legal, IT, public relations and human resources issues, among others. At the same time, Feehery noted, competition for resources and capital can be difficult, larger organizations are often slower in their decision making, and substance use disorder and mental health patients can be viewed as a “distraction” by those in other parts of the organization. To “survive and thrive,” in Feehery’s words, SUD and mental health providers should: Adopt payer models that fit the health system’s business model Adjust their business model to reflect market realities and consumer preferences Right size operations and personnel Eliminate/sell programs that no longer fit Add services that meet community/system needs Ensure the service array fits the system’s mission and vision or redefine accordingly. Understanding the new world of Google Ads Google’s requirement for advertisers to obtain LegitScript certification made waves throughout the addiction treatment industry this year, but Josh Weum, director of paid search for Dreamscape Marketing, told attendees that the certification process isn’t as much of a headache as it might seem on the surface, especially for smaller treatment centers concerned about getting overwhelmed by bigger fish in the industry’s pond. “LegitScript is analyzing companies objectively. It doesn’t matter how big you are or how much money you have,” said Weum, who previously worked for Google as a digital ambassador. “The underlying point of all of this is that if you haven’t done anything wrong, you have nothing to fear. If you have, this is your chance to fix it before it becomes a major liability or you become bankrupt. They’re not looking to hurt anyone. They’re looking to make sure Google isn’t culpable in patient brokering. That’s their role. For those getting incensed over it, it’s typically because they have something to hide or something they have to deal with that isn’t easy to deal with.” Weum also noted that while costs for high-performing search terms have dropped since Google implemented its new requirements, the falloff has not been nearly as dramatic as some anticipated. The average cost per click on the top 25 industry terms prior to the new regulations was $37.62. Now, it is in the range of $22 to $25 and should climb back up quickly, Weum said. He explained that while there aren’t as many operators aggressively bidding on terms now, today’s auction landscape is much cleaner, filled with treatment centers that have met criteria and have legitimate reasons for buying terms. Thus, competition remains high.
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