The American healthcare industry is being transformed by new enforced programs such as Bundled Payments for Care Improvement and Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement. These programs are being enforced by Medicare and Medicaid as they are responsible for choosing which hospitals will be participating and how much those hospitals will be paid. These initiatives are being put in place to attempt to get the highest quality care at the lowest reasonable price for patients, which puts more responsibility on hospital staff. If discharged patients end up being readmitted within 30 days, or their treatment costs more than the bundle’s target price, the respective hospital will be penalized. With these changes, more of a need is being placed on post-acute care providers as they can make the difference of whether a patient is readmitted to a hospital or not. While a small portion of hospitals already have access to one of these services within their own company, many do not, putting the need for a strong and reliable partnership with an outside company at an all-time high. Currently, 50% of hospitals refer their patients to up to 18 different post-acute providers. Some hospitals even have lists of between 30-40 different providers. With so many options and so little information, patients typically end up choosing a post-acute community company based on mere convenience. If a post-acute care provider is chosen purely because they are close in proximity, there is no guarantee of it being a high-quality industry, leading to a heightened risk of re-admittance. This is not only hard on the patient being treated but it reflects poorly on the hospital and their initial treatment. Ideally, a “preferred provider” partnership should be enforced, allowing the hospital to have a small pool of post-acute providers that they can refer patients to ensuring the highest quality care after being discharged.
To pick a reliable partner, several steps need to be taken in advance. Post-acute communities must be willing to communicate with the hospital to ensure the appropriate care is provided to the patient. Focus should be put on the average re-admittance and infection rates, as well as the overall satisfaction of the patients and their families. A partnership with a post-acute care service will only be beneficial if they provide outstanding care and attentiveness to their patients’ needs. Along with patient treatment, it is important for the community to be able to work successfully alongside the hospital. Ideally, the post-acute care community should be an extension of the hospital. It is necessary to efficiently respond to any requests made by the hospital regarding patient treatment or medical conditions. When hospitals and post-acute care communities work together, the partnership leads to better quality of care and cost reductions that benefit all of us.
Don’t trust your post-acute care to just anyone, come see why South Coast Post Acute is Orange County’s leading care provider.