Starting October 1, hospitals in the bottom quartile for readmissions will get across-the-board reimbursement cuts from Medicare, and skilled nursing facilities should capitalize on their data to become attractive partners to either hospitals in trouble, or well-performing hospitals that want to stay on top, says Teresa Chase, President and CEO of American HealthTech in her recent white paper on how hospitals measure SNF performance.
“SNFs have a very attractive opportunity to step up their game,” the paper reads. “The door is wide open for SNFs. For those willing to attack readmissions and position quality benefits, there are attractive reasons to partner with them from a hospital’s standpoint given the real value: great care at a great price.”
A recent LeadingAge-hosted webinar, “Advancing Accountable Care,” discussed the longevity of the model.
“The philosophy of accountable care is here to stay,” said Lawrence Kocot, deputy director at the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform. “Regardless of the [healthcare reform] law, we will continue to pursue this model.”
“I believe nursing homes are in a unique position to help hospitals stabilize patients after discharge,” said Majd Alwan, Ph.D., LeadingAge’s senior vice president of technology and executive director of CAST. “Another significant role is short-term rehab, to help those discharge patients attain or maintain the quality of care and help their acute care partner achieve the [required] quality measures.”
It’s important for skilled nursing facilities to demonstrate their value and how they compare to others in terms of quality of care and outcomes, said Sean McBride, a project manager with the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at the Brookings Institute, during the webinar.
If SNFs can prove they sustainably have low readmission rates, they can position themselves well with hospitals—which revenue and reputation depend on, Chase agrees in her paper.
“Embrace the gift of early intelligence: attack readmissions now, market your attractive outcomes, win census for hospitals, and be well positioned when readmissions-related cuts come to your neighbors caught flat-footed,” she adds.
The paper’s contents include how skilled nursing facilities compare to other post-acute care providers in terms of hospital readmission rates and costs; what hospitals are looking for, as described by three major health systems; what data SNFs will need to be attractively positioned with hospitals at the negotiating tables; and three imperatives for SNFs preparing for meeting with hospitals in an outcomes-driven healthcare world.
The bottom line, according to Chase, is that “Facts are friends, and you must line them up to win partnerships in the new era of post-acute care.”
Written by Alyssa Gerace