Written by Renee Flis, Regional Sales Manager
That’s the question being frequently asked by senior living providers as our fee-for-service Medicare payment model begins a transition to episodic or “bundled” payments through ACOs and demonstration projects.
Regardless of the name attached to our changing healthcare model, fee for service is going, going, gone… Within the next two years, the healthcare partners of senior living providers and payers will expect interoperability, and health information exchange (HIE) will expand at a rapid pace. The expectation is that most healthcare providers will be exchanging critical patient data by the close of 2015.
Why, you ask? To cut healthcare delivery costs, improve patient care, and to ensure successful patient outcomes that prevent re-hospitalization. This government-led initiative may begin in the hospital; however, does not end there. A bundled payment model or episodic payments mean that the hospital must now develop patient care partnerships to ensure that the care started under their roof is continued and coordinated throughout the patient’s recovery, whether care is provided by a skilled nursing facility, home health care, hospice, outpatient services, or a combination of post-acute care providers. This ultimately means there is a strong financial incentive for health plans, hospitals and post-hospital providers to work together for the best patient/resident outcomes.
So again, what about patient/resident choice? Coming from the private assisted living and corporate skilled nursing worlds myself, as hired change agent and responsible party for increased business development and revenue generation, I am confident sharing that patient/resident choice, expectations and wants are parallel to the direction government is moving healthcare. Your residents and the community also want better care, at a reduced cost, with successful outcomes following each episode to ensure not having to “start it all again.”
That being said, now is the time to stop finding reasons to not embrace this great change before us – and instead, as leaders, embrace it and discover a new operational strategy to reduce costs and free up capital allowing you to adopt EHR now. Your ability to provide your health plans, referring hospitals and ACOs with proven, documented evidence of your success with their patients, showing positive trends over time, will help ensure your place at the table. And we know that’s where much of your bread and butter will soon come from.
Outsourcing the services you can and focusing on improving resident care, costs, and outcomes will not only win your healthcare partners’ choice, but residents’ choice. After all, I’ve never conversed with a patient, resident, or family member who wanted to pay more money for less care, or to not receive the outcome that will keep them from being re-admitted to the hospital.
A strong EHR system with health information exchange capability, combined with a core IT solution as your foundation, is not only best business practice – it’s essential to remaining in business.
For help in securing your IT foundation for EHR, call us – and together we’ll set you up for long term business success.