LeadingAge: Health Care Reform Points to Building Better Referral Relationships

It’s becoming increasingly important for senior living providers to build relationships with acute-care providers who can function as crucial referral sources, says LeadingAge in a recent article, especially as health care reform takes effect.

Communication, education and clinical pathways that are built for the continuum between and among facilities, she adds, will transform care for the better.

“Health-care systems are much more rapidly becoming integrated clinical entities, with physicians, payors, and post-acute and other providers,” says Kathleen M Griffin, Ph.D., national director of post-acute and senior services for Health Dimensions Group in Scottsdale, Ariz.

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In the short term, health systems, she says, are integrating to prepare for the upcoming CMS penalties for rehospitalizations for heart failure, pneumonia and myocardial infarction. Further ahead, a value-based purchasing quality measure will include efficiencies in managing a patient three days prior and 30 days after the hospitalization.

“This will be a major culture change,” Griffin says. “It’s new and you are no longer a stand-alone campus. You are interdependent with multiple other providers. That’s the future of health care.”

Discharge planners and administrators are also key contacts to develop. And in addition to finding referral sources, providers need to be able to demonstrate favorable patient metrics to prove they’re a good place for patients to receive post-acute care.

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“If you want to be the provider of choice, you better know your numbers as it relates to rehospitalizations,” says Keith Myers, president/CEO of MorseLife in the LeadingAge article.

Good outcomes are important, and LeadingAge details initiatives some providers have taken to improve the way they deliver services, such as increasing the number of professional staff.

Read the full article, which appears in LeadingAge’s March/April 2012 magazine.

Written by Alyssa Gerace