Hospital readmission penalties could transform relationships with SNFs, experts say

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Anne Tumlinson
Anne Tumlinson

Healthcare reform efforts targeted at reducing hospital readmissions are here to stay, experts told participants in a McKnight's webcast Tuesday.

Partnerships between long-term care facilities and acute-care providers — as encouraged by accountable care organizations, bundled payments and hospital readmission penalties — are essential to reducing costly readmissions, according to Avalere Health consultants Erik Johnson and Anne Tumlinson. These strategies are likely to take hold even if the Affordable Care Act is found to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court this summer, Johnson asserted.

In a webcast titled “Hospital Readmissions: Opportunity or Threat?” Johnson said that with regard to various coordinated care strategies, “the train has already left the station. … This will become the new normal. Private payers are very focused on coordinated care.”

Under the Affordable Care Act, hospitals face stiff penalties for readmissions for preventable conditions such as heart failure and pneumonia.

“Rehospitalization penalties have the potential to transform the relationships between hospitals and skilled nursing facilities,” Tumlinson said, noting that she has worked with hospitals that disperse residents to a huge group of SNFs. “Acute care providers will need to know how different SNFs perform relative to their peers, and data will enable providers to have that conversation.”

The slides from the presentation can be downloaded here.
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