The healthcare industry’s transformation from volume-based to value-based care is putting increasing pressure on post-acute care (PAC) providers. Keeping up with regulatory changes affecting the PAC industry can be a full-time job. If organizations want to thrive and grow, they must embrace new ideas and strategies.
Collaboration and shared learning is a great way for post-acute care providers to understand successful strategies that help to stay competitive. To facilitate this learning, PAC providers from across the country joined CipherHealth’s half-day event to discuss what actions they must take in order to survive and thrive in a rapidly evolving value-based care environment.
Well Care Health’s President and COO, Wanda Coley, served as event chair and host. Coley led the conversation and encouraged all who attended to partake in meaningful dialogue and share their personal experiences. Throughout the discussions, three key takeaways emerged during the Post-Acute Care Roundtable:
1. The Elephant in the Room: Shifting towards Value-Based Purchasing
- Many providers feel they are being reactive as the industry transitions from fee-for-service to value, rather than proactive. Participants felt that their organizations will have to concentrate more heavily on improving quality of care and reducing hospitalization rates to remain competitive.
“We know what rehospitalizations are costing hospitals, but we have to understand what they are costing PAC providers,” proclaimed Kaitlyn McCann, Manager of Corporate Operations at Great Lakes Caring.
For the last decade, hospitals have been forced to evaluate their readmission rates due to CMS’s Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP). Not only are hospitals looking at their own processes, they are partnering with post-acute organizations that can help to keep readmissions, ED visits, and total cost of care lower. By better understanding how they are impacting patient outcomes, post-acute providers have the opportunity to become preferred partners and increase referral volume.
2. Where to Make the Right Investments: What is Your Technology ROI?
- With nursing and therapy staff being high-cost resources, the group explored how to become more efficient with utilization of this staff. Naturally, this opened discussion about the role that technology plays in their organizations.
Providers across the care continuum are realizing the value of investing in efficient technology to help meet organizational goals. For post-acute care providers, it is critical to uncover how to use technology to decrease cost of care without compromising quality.
Coley shared how technology plays an increasingly important role for her staff and patients. At Well Care Health, Coley is leading the charge on integrating technology-enabling processes that help make data-driven decisions for her team. By leveraging tools that help inform their agency with data, leadership can understand where they can have the biggest impact at the lowest cost.
3. Addressing a Variety of Workforce Challenges
- When John Banks Powell, CipherHealth’s Vice President of Post-Acute Strategy asked, “Are recruitment and retention a top-of-mind priority?” The group all agreed, ‘absolutely.’ Each attendee expressed their challenges dealing with competition from hospitals and MD offices, to nursing schools that are not preparing their students to work in the PAC industry. Staff turnover is high in this space and losing a skilled resource can sometimes cost a post-acute provider an excess of roughly $10,000 each. This starts to add up and becomes extremely expensive.
Another significant trend was nurses wanting to work 10-12 hour shifts so they can have a 3-4 day work week. To adopt to changing workforce needs, facilities are making changes that are aimed at keeping staff members happy and engaged.“ We are limiting admissions,” said Mary Gadomski, Director Business Development and Community Relations at VNSW,” This may be unheard of but, it’s a way to keep staff happy.
The group continued to discuss various tactics they have used, to engage the generational demographic – from company culture to work perks it seems that many post-acute care organizations have tried many strategies with varying degrees of success. CipherHealth’s Senior Account Strategist, Matt Danilo, shared a key insight that combines the importance of technology in relation to a new workforce. “Millennials are the first generation to grow up in the digital age, which has developed the capabilities to learn and utilize new technology. If you want to recruit and retain millennials, integrate technology into their daily workflows”.
As the day concluded, Coley shared one last piece of advice, “If you are going to measure employee engagement, do something about it. If you are not going to do something about it, do not measure it”, urging her colleagues to make the changes they see fit.
After a half-day of knowledge sharing, learning, and networking, one thing was clear to all in attendance, despite the size, location, or even age of their organization, the problems they are facing are not unique. These problems are faced by providers across the care continuum, across the country. As the post-acute care industry continues to evolve with the rest of healthcare, it will be paramount to cut through the noise and set themselves up for both short and long-term success.