As the number of patients with medical complexities continues to increase, acute agility is a key strategy to help meet growing patient needs amid a rapidly changing healthcare landscape.
Hospital leaders should consider co-locating a variety of services on their hospital campuses beyond short-term acute care, including rehabilitation, long-term acute care and behavioral health.
In this Q&A, hear from Kindred Healthcare CEO Benjamin A. Breier as he offers insights into market expansion strategies that can help hospitals meet the evolving needs of their communities.
How does healthcare consumerism play into the need to co-locate more services on a single hospital campus?
Breier: Now more than ever, patients have extremely high expectations. They understand the difference in care settings and want to know that they or their loved one is getting the best possible care.
Co-location and offering specialty care within your system’s care continuum helps meet these expectations by reducing care transitions, keeping patients within your health system and providing patients with the appropriate specialty care they need to reach a full recovery. All of this increases patient satisfaction, preference and loyalty - ultimately leading to improved outcomes.
How does co-location of specialty services benefit the hospital’s performance overall?
Breier: When patients leave the hospital and are placed in the care of other organizations, the hospital loses control over their care and ultimately has little influence over whether the patient is readmitted, a key metric by which providers are judged, especially under emerging value-based reimbursement models. Health systems that co-locate more of the continuum on their campus stand a better chance of avoiding these negative outcomes while capturing post-acute revenue.
Financials are not and should not be the driving force behind how we care for patients, but our ability to be reimbursed and manage costs is, in many ways, paramount. If you have coordinated, specialized care that’s creating better outcomes and better financial results, that’s a win in either paradigm. However, as managed care and other value-based reimbursement become a bigger part of the equation, it will be even more important to provide care that makes the most of the limited funds we’re given.
How does the co-location model benefit hospital staffing issues?
Breier: Healthcare staffing is one of the biggest challenges for providers. By offering high-quality post-acute services within one campus, health systems have greater access to resources and specialized expertise, including hospital-level infection control and physician oversight.
Additionally, having all of the necessary resources in one set- ting can alleviate potential staffing strains. Co-locating training, education and programming on one campus can generate and create a unified interdisciplinary team approach – leading to higher employee retention and satisfaction.
What advice do you have for hospital leaders who may not have the physical space to co-locate more services on a single campus?
Breier: Even if you don’t think you have the current space available, co-location could still be an option. By re-evaluating your system’s current offerings, you may be able to identify opportunities to adjust services or optimize programs to better meet patient needs.
There is also opportunity in investing in a new building to specifically house multiple services. For all the reasons we’ve talked about, there is greater efficiency and cost savings. To achieve this, many health systems are leveraging strategic partnerships to help support focused expertise – opening the door to greater bed capacity, ability to share clinical staffing and more opportunities for combined education and training.
Through a history of successful joint ventures and management agreements, Kindred partners with health systems to develop co-location and specialty service strategies that meet the specific patient needs and opportunities in local communities.
To learn how Kindred can help your health system, visit kindredrehab.com
Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services works with more than 300 hospital-based programs nationwide to bring the best possible clinical and operational outcomes.