Many healthcare providers partner with dedicated rehabilitation partners because a third-party team of rehab experts can often help rehab programs reach higher levels of performance. There are a number of advantages to using a rehabilitation partner, and several key qualities to look for in a partner to ensure your program’s long-term success.
This article outlines advantages of rehab partners, key qualities to look for in a partner, and essential questions to ask a potential partner.
The Advantages of Using a Rehab Partner
According to a recent survey by Deloitte, healthcare executives find rehab partnerships preferable due to:
- Improved patient experience and enhanced overall performance with fewer in-house resources, as partners take on much of the responsibility for program infrastructure, allowing providers to maximize their program value at minimal investment.
- Increased patient access and improved employee retention.
- Greater scale and speed to market.
- Lower post-acute expenditures, as effective partners reduce several critical cost factors, including emergency room visits, stay lengths, readmissions and claim denials.
Top 5 Qualities That Make a Great Acute Rehab Partner
While the benefits are clear, not all partners are created equal. When evaluating a potential partner, consider the following five qualities.
1. Clinical and Quality Effectiveness
Providers should look for partners experienced in attaining top quality certifications – such as CARF and The Joint Commission – that make a program stand out and increase its number of patients. The partner’s clinical acumen should result in reduced readmission rates and improved patient outcomes.
2. Proven Track Record in Optimizing Performance
Suitable partners already produce impressive results for other healthcare providers. This performance record demonstrates that the partner can achieve measurable gains that translate into higher program quality and efficiency.
3. Robust Network of Medical Directors
Strong medical directors are essential to successful rehab programs, but hard to identify and retain. Partners must have a strong network of medical directors who are focused on provider engagement.
4. Patient Throughput Management
An effective partner should have a proven system to efficiently move patients through phases of care. Proper care management ensures that patients enter rehab when they need it and stay as appropriate, which in turn reduces readmission rates, lowers per-patient costs and increases patient satisfaction.
5. Expert Regulatory and Compliance Team
Ever-changing regulations challenge compliance efforts. An ideal partner features a skilled regulatory and compliance team specialized in rehab who keeps abreast of changes, prepares for regulation expansions, and navigates the system to reduce denials.
Find Your Ideal Rehab Partner: Key Questions to Ask
You can assess the quality of a potential partner by asking these questions:
What are your quality metrics?
A partner that gets results has an evaluation system that goes beyond minimal government requirements and assesses the most important performance benchmarks, such as changes in FIM and PEM, and discharge-to-community rates.
What do you do to decrease patient readmission risks?
To minimize readmissions, candidates should have a clear and proven system for maximizing patient readiness for discharge.
How do you drive clinical efficiency?
Their answer should list practical actions that have a measurable effect on clinical efficiency.
What is your denial rate?
Denials add up to significant expenses for providers. Ideal partners utilize thorough compliance and a successful claim appeal process to obtain a low denial rate.
Do you utilize technology that can flag regulatory issues before they become larger problems?
Flagging software can minimize resources devoted to resolving regulatory problems.
How do you promote patient advocacy and improve access to care?
Highly-trained clinical liaisons should be prominent figures in partner plans for enhancing both patient access and engagement.
How do you drive patient engagement?
Patient engagement is essential to driving better outcomes, so ask partners about their solutions for improving patient knowledge, engagement and motivation.
How do you promote provider retention and engagement?
Retention is critical, as close to half of disengaged employees plan to leave their jobs within a year. Partners should have access to a strong network of physicians, therapists and nurses and place special focus on training and career development opportunities.
Do you utilize technology for improving both provider and patient engagement?
The latest technologies can enhance engagement among physicians, therapists and the patients themselves.
The right partner can help you boost program performance and scale. Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services (KHRS) serves over 150 hospital-based rehab programs, optimizing program features ranging from outcomes to staffing to compliance to claims appeals. To learn how KHRS can partner to improve your rehab program, visit kindredrehab.com.
Kindred Rehabilitation works with more than 300 hospital-based programs nationwide to bring the best possible clinical and operational outcomes.