Evidence it's 'game-on' with rehospitalizations

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James M. Berklan, McKnight's Editor
James M. Berklan, McKnight's Editor

Read no further if you are always successful at preventing rehospitalizations.

I thought that might get you to click into here. In fact, I knew it would.

That's not because I licked my finger and stuck in the air. I already know which way the wind is blowing when it comes to the topic of rehospitalizations.

It's screaming straight in the face — yours, mine, your colleagues' and your competitors'. It doesn't matter which way any of us is facing: We're all getting hit. The key now is not to get blown over.

Perhaps it's noticed more than at this point because this was “the” week for the rehospitalization issue. On Monday, hospitals started experiencing loss of government funding if they had too many patients returning for further treatment for recent heart failure, heart attacks and pneumonia problems.

Reflecting on recent events, it's clear that long-term care providers have gotten the message. They need to be the reliable downstream care partner of hospitals. Otherwise, they're going to get snubbed when it comes to referrals.

The hospitals — clearly the big, big brother in this relationship — are starting to play for keeps. Poor-performing nursing homes are going to start seeing referral streams choked off. Unless they do something to answer hospitals' needs, that is.

My colleagues at McKnight's and I have written about all of the above in one form or another many times in recent months.

But what has changed, what we couldn't have known, was just how strong long-term care providers' yearning would be to “get it right.” The outpouring for publications, commentary and events such as our webcasts has been incredible. What's more, it's been sustained. Another hugely popular webcast moderated by McKnight's Editorial Director John O'Connor on Tuesday hammered that point home. I don't know if that's more a sign of diligence or procrastination on the part of long-term care providers, but I'll prefer to believe it's the former, at least for the time being.

Of course, the future will tell us how many providers are still just giving lip service. The penalties escalate for hospitals each of the next two years and the playground doesn't figure to become any nicer in the meantime. Especially for those who don't know how to, or refuse to, play the game.

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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editor's Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor on Monday and Friday; Staff Writer Tim Mullaney on Tuesday, Editor James M. Berklan on Wednesday and Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman on Thursday.

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