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Survey: Majority of SNF professionals skeptical of ACOs, haven't prepared strategies

August 17, 2011
by root
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Corporate executives, administrators and other SNF professionals are doubtful that proposed Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) will benefit post-acute facilities or their patients, according to new survey results published this week by Patient Placement Systems, a developer of online healthcare software.

The survey also indicates that skilled nursing facilities do not clearly understand how they would participate in ACOs and are therefore slow to establish ACO strategies.

“There has been extensive speculation about the impact of ACOs on nursing homes and other post-acute providers since CMS issued the draft rule in March,” said Doug Walker, vice president and general manager of Patient Placement Systems. “SNF professionals remain uncertain about how or if ACOs will work, and most believe that ACO rules and structures as defined by CMS would not improve patient care or benefit SNFs.”

Patient Placement Systems administered the survey in July 2011 and received feedback from 154 respondents, of which 36 percent were C-level or other corporate executives, while 17 percent were facility administrators and another 17 percent were corporate directors and managers. Highlights of the survey included:

· Twenty-two percent of SNF professionals agreed or agreed strongly ACOs will be perceived as having improved patient care in five years.

· Twenty-five percent said that ACOs would benefit skilled nursing facilities.

· Thirty-one percent agreed or strongly agreed “our organization has a clear understanding about how skilled nursing facilities will participate in ACOs.”

Although 53 percent agreed or strongly agreed that developing an ACO strategy is a “high priority for our organization,” preparation still lags: 22 percent of skilled nursing facility providers have an ACO strategy prepared; and 34 percent said they “don’t know” when their organization will develop an ACO strategy.

Walker did note one positive response: 69 percent agreed or strongly agreed “even without formal ACOs in place, our skilled nursing facilities collaborate with hospitals to improve the continuity and quality of patient care.”

“That strong response seems to indicate that post-acute providers are and will continue to work with hospitals and doctors to improve accountability and patient outcomes,” said Walker. “They are not waiting for a final ACO rule to start addressing the challenges of lowering costs and enhancing patient care.”

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