Senior Care Providers Adjust, Diversify Business Strategies to Keep Up With Healthcare Trends

| December 6, 2012

Medicare reimbursement cuts, along with an increasing number of short-term rehabilitation patients, have forced care providers to adjust business strategies and diversify services to keep up with emerging trends within the healthcare industry. 

Developing a more patient-focused care model—one that follows patients during transitional periods—is one way Kindred Healthcare is fostering acute and post-acute integration, according to chief development officer Greg Miller during a Cain Brothers’ House Call last week. 

“With the evolving fee-for-value payment system, it is important for hospitals and post-acute care providers to consider their organizations part of a broader care delivery ecosystem in which varying levels of integration will be imperative for long-term success,” Cain Brothers said regarding its panel topic.

By bringing on a board of continuum care managers and on-call clinical specialists, Kindred is developing ways to provide patients with post-acute attention as they transfer through hospitals and rehabilitation facilities. 

This type of post-discharge attention is crucial, given alarming readmission figures reported in the latest issue of Archives of Surgery. About 40% of complications rise after discharge following certain types of procedures, the study found. Of those that suffered post-discharge complications, 75% occurred within 14 days of leaving the hospital. 

Reimbursement cuts have been one way Medicare has shaken a finger at hospitals for their increasing number of readmissions. Currently, hospitals are facing a 1% reduction in Medicare payments for every readmitted patient above a certain threshold, but the penalty is expected to double by next October and then reach 3% by 2015.

“The tide of healthcare is turning to make sure that we are not doing treadmill medicine, but taking care of people over the long-haul,” says Mike Martin, senior vice president of the Virginia-based Riverside Health System.

One way to provide managed care is through joint ventures with other post-acute care providers. This is something Ohio-based Catholic Health Partners has already begun doing, according to Jason Niehaus, president & CEO of senior health and housing services, including ones with home health agencies in certain regions.

“In some level of arrangement, one aspect we’re looking for is how to bridge the gap in each market where we don’t offer services,” he said during the House Call. 

A collaboration between acute and post-acute care could potentially lessen the blow of these funding costs, and even help eliminate unnecessary Medicare spending, which reached $556 billion this year, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Written by Jason Oliva


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Category: Government Programs, Medicare and Medicaid, Senior Care, Senior Housing, Skilled Nursing

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