'Embrace the change' of healthcare reform

October 3, 2011
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A recurring theme at the recent AHCA (American Health Care Association) national conference was the need for skilled nursing providers to be proactive in adapting to the brave new world of healthcare reform. Conference speakers tried to put a positive spin on the impending changes—chaos brings opportunity,” “embrace the change—but frankly, it’s a bitter pill for many to swallow, especially in light of all the doom and gloom surrounding funding cuts.

Regardless, providers must get on board the change train if they hope to claim their fair share of the payment pie. Say good-bye to silos and hello to bundled providers. If you haven’t already, start growing relationships with the major acute care providers in your market and the key players in the ACO (accountable care organization) structure.

A lot of ACOs will be built on trust, at least initially, so it’s imperative to promote the value of your aging services. “We’re selling safety and care,” said Nancy Rehkamp, principal, Larson Allen, in her presentation on ACOs and reform.

And most critically, start gathering the data to back up your value proposition. “We need to rewrite our story but we need the data to do so,” said Rehkamp. “It’s a new playbook with new rules and new goals.”

Rehkamp offered some key strategies for aging services providers:

· create an understanding of existing patient care delivery patterns;

· develop robust predictive measurement systems for utilization, quality and costs;

· develop organizational capabilities for electronic health exchange and communications;

· identify and implement best practices and strategies by diagnosis;

· determine processes for patient-centered care and patient engagement approaches;

· define a financially savvy path transitioning to value based/gain sharing payments; and

· build relationships at the organizational level.

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