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5 Keys to SNF Success

Analysis  |  By Christopher Cheney  
   July 31, 2017

A Massachusetts-based skilled-nursing facility sets a high bar for quality, invests in staffing and HIT, and has created operational efficiencies based on the proximity of its facilities.

Research published this month indicates post-acute-care at skilled nursing facilities could be a significant source of wasteful healthcare spending.

The lead author of the peer-reviewed study, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Joseph J. Doyle Jr., says a big next steps is to examine best practices at good SNFs.

By at least three measures, Winchester, MA-based Salter Healthcare is a good SNF organization:

  • High Medicare Ratings: All three Salter Healthcare SNFs (Aberjona, Winchester Rehabilitation and Nursing Center and Woburn Rehabilitation and Nursing Center Are the other two) have 5-Star Medicare ratings on Nursing Home Compare.
  • Sustainable Finances: "We are able to have a margin that allows us to invest in IT, to invest in training, and to invest in rehabilitating the facilities, rather than just trying to hang on for another year," says co-owner Richard Salter.
  • Low Staff Turnover: In a sector with high rates of nursing turnover, Salter says his organization is noteworthy for staff retention. "We keep people for five to 10 years. They get the proper training; they have the proper skill sets; and they are working with other employees who also have proper training and skills."

Salter identifies five essential elements to his organization's success:

1. Invest in Staffing

Salter says his organization invests significant time and money in clinical-care staff, and quality is engrained in the organization's culture.

"When every other SNF looks at our cost of nursing, they say, "'You are spending too much money. How can you be in the 99th percentile in spending per patient on all of your clinical costs?'"

Christopher Cheney is the senior clinical care​ editor at HealthLeaders.

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