Finding New Care Continuum Partnerships

Cheryl Clark, February 26, 2015

With numerous payment models and penalties looming, nursing facilities and hospitals have interlocking incentives to keep patients out of the hospital with access to less expensive home care—if medically feasible.

This article first appeared in the December 2014 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

Despite a history that has included relationships at times friendly and beneficial, and at times antagonistic and costly, hospitals and skilled nursing homes are recognizing the need to develop new partnerships to improve care and control costs.

Though hospitals discharge one in five Medicare patients to these facilities, historically, they often don't get along, sometimes blaming each other for lapses in care, incomplete or incorrect communication, premature discharges from hospital to nursing facility or nursing facilities to homes, and unreported infections such as C. diff.  

Now, though, with dollars at stake and greater emphasis on the care continuum, both segments of the industry have compelling reasons to come together, and so they are.

In some cases, rancor and mistrust is giving way to cooperation and transparency and, yes, respect. With numerous payment models and penalties looming, nursing facilities and hospitals have interlocking incentives to keep patients not just out of the hospital, but out of the nursing home sooner, with less expensive home care if that's what's best for the patient.

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