Person-centered care programs projected to cut skilled nursing stays by 20%

Person-centered care programs within healthcare organizations are more cost effective, but notably decrease how long a patient spends in a skilled nursing facility, according to a new report.
Person-centered care programs within healthcare organizations are more cost effective, but notably decrease how long a patient spends in a skilled nursing facility, according to a new report.

Person-centered care programs within healthcare organizations are more cost effective, but notably decrease how long a patient spends in a skilled nursing facility, according to a new report.

Person-Centered Care: The Business Case,” released  by the SCAN Foundation June 20, draws on real-world results of person-centered care programs in calculating how - and who - saves money.

Person-centered care programs reduced skilled nursing stays by 20%, as well as decreased hospital admissions, readmissions and emergency department visit rates.

The Allina Health LifeCourse Program, which targets individuals estimated to have two to three years to live but who don't believe they are ready for palliative care, was one such person-centered program that resulted in skilled nursing savings for the healthcare system. Priority Health Tandem365, which targets advanced and chronically ill patients who find traditional ambulatory care impractical, also cut down on skilled nursing costs.

SCAN used results from healthcare organizations that implemented the LifeCourse and Tandem365 programs in calculating the possible return on investment for organizations if they implement similar programs.

SCAN's ROI calculator found that utilization costs drop from roughly $42,000 to about $25,000 per person per year — for a ROI of 307% — given the following assumptions:

  • The program costs $300 per member per month

  • Hospital admissions and readmissions are cut by one-third as a result of the program

  • Days spent in a skilled nursing facility and emergency room visits both drop 20% as a result of the program

  • Average length of hospital stay and cost per day are reduced by 10%

  • The number of outpatient visits stays consistent

The report's authors acknowledge that such assumptions are just predictions, and may be “overly optimistic.” But results are shown to still be favorable for providers when the calculator is adjusted to simulate a “more conservative scenario.”

“The potential for obtaining a positive ROI from a well-implemented PCC program will of course vary greatly from one organization to another,” the authors wrote. “Yet in general, for organizations that serve a substantial number of older adults with multiple chronic conditions and functional limitations, and that bear at least some risk for the medical utilization of these people, the business case is strong and the current Medicare payment methods are making it stronger.”