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Operations Coordination & Planning – Sierra Consulting Group

Opening up an addiction treatment center is a noble pursuit and an ambitious undertaking. Unfortunately, it’s common for well-meaning people to seriously underestimate the complexity and challenges involved with a treatment center startup. Part of the reason for this is because the nature of the business is about helping people who have a life-threatening disease. For this reason, it’s easy to forget that you are running a business. A treatment center is a business, and as such, there needs to be that mindset.

The need for treatment is overwhelming, but don’t make the mistake of taking an “If we build it, they will come” approach. This attitude can hurt your organization and limit your ability to achieve your ultimate goal: To help those that need it.

What Is Involved With Coordination And Planning?

Operations planning isn’t the same as strategic planning. Strategic planning is a zoomed out, big picture of your organization’s larger goals. Operations planning is more about the day to day matters that help your facility run smoothly and effectively.

There are a lot of moving parts to your facility. Admissions and intakes, cash flow in and out, billing, referrals, program operations, scheduling and staff coordination, compliance and more. Often, these moving parts seem to operate against each other, instead of with each other. This can affect your ability to provide quality services, it can cause financial problems, it can lead to issues with compliance and it can lead to tension within the facility.

A working operational plan outlines what happens in your facility day to day, when it happens and who is responsible.

Planning And Coordination Require a systematic approach. If your business is already off the ground, but is experiencing problems, an operations assessment can help get things back on track. An outside consultant or team of consultants can come in and observe and analyze your current operations and help determine where it needs improvement. This means an in-depth look at all aspects of the daily life of your facility. Some areas that will be evaluated include:

  • Business structure and model, current financial health
  • Staffing skills and workflow
  • Service accessibility
  • Information management
  • Marketing
  • Program implementation
  • And more

An in-depth look at billing and accounting practices can help identify issues that could be hurting your bottom line. Analyzing your marketing, accessibility to services and screening and intake processes can help you improve your client admissions while allowing you to deliver services in a better, more efficient and cost-saving manner. Coordinating your operations plan means that relationships with outside partners run more smoothly as well.

For example, if you are running into budgeting problems, which is common in the addiction treatment industry, improvements in operations can help stem the flow of unnecessary outgoing resources, while improving the flow of resources going in. It isn’t always easy to see the problem when you are on the inside.

Improving delivery of service through better management, staffing solutions, eliminating scheduling conflicts and thoughtful public relations activities are a few more ways operational planning and overhaul can improve your business.

How Does The Process Start?

It starts with a meeting between you, the consulting team and any executive management or other leaders in your organization. You’ll have an opportunity to voice concerns, and discuss problem areas.

In order to create an operations plan, the existing plan must be evaluated. If you are just starting out, a plan will have to be made from scratch. Factors that influence the creation of your plan may include:

  • Your mission and goals
  • Your financial model
  • Population served
  • Your business plan

What Are The Goals Of Operations Planning?

  • Improved clinical outcomes
  • Increased revenue
  • More efficient delivery of services
  • Broader opportunities for client acquisition
  • Improved staff satisfaction and productivity
  • Increased cost-efficiency

The above isn’t a definitive list of the goals of operations planning and coordination, but it does outline some goals and benefits of this process.

Operations Coordination And Planning is an important element of your business. When your facility is running smoothly, it’s better for you, your clients, and your community. It allows you to do more of what you do best: Help others. It allows you to stay profitable and grow a healthy business that doesn’t have to struggle. Operations planning is something that shouldn’t be overlooked. An outside consultant with the experience to help you create and optimize your operations planning is the ideal way to manage this task so that it doesn’t become overwhelming.

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