How Postacute Care is Evolving

Christopher Cheney, December 14, 2015

With shared interests in reducing readmission rates and associated Medicare payment penalties, hospitals and skilled nursing facilities are in the vanguard of an evolutionary movement.

With shared interests in reducing readmission rates and associated Medicare payment penalties, hospitals and skilled nursing facilities are in the vanguard of an evolutionary movement.

This article first appeared in the December 2015 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

The quest to deliver value for patients at health systems and hospitals has opened up a new frontier filled with golden opportunity: postacute care.

"The 30-day readmission penalty for hospitals and their SNF partners is a marker, not the endgame. The state of play right now is: How do we get to better longer-term overall care coordination?"

"There are huge benefits and very few downsides to the evolving partnerships between hospitals and postacute care settings," says Mary Naylor, PhD, RN, a gerontology professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and director of the NewCourtland Center for Transitions and Health in Philadelphia. "It is evolutionary. It could be faster; but, nonetheless, we are not going back."

With shared interests in reducing readmission rates and associated Medicare payment penalties, hospitals and skilled nursing facilities are in the vanguard of this evolutionary movement, but the scale of change is much broader, Naylor says. "The 30-day readmission penalty for hospitals and their SNF partners is a marker, not the endgame. The state of play right now is: How do we get to better longer-term overall care coordination?"

Hospitals have faced Medicare payment penalties for patient readmissions since October 2012. SNFs and home health agencies began facing readmission payment penalties this past fall.

Christopher Cheney

Christopher Cheney is the senior finance editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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