Targeting hospital readmissions gives skilled nursing facilities opportunities, expert says

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Anne Tumlinson
Anne Tumlinson
Skilled nursing facilities should know their track record and be able to spread the word about it well if they want to thrive and help reduce rehospitalizations, a policy expert said Tuesday.

Hospitals will face penalties for patients who are unexpectedly readmitted for acute myocardial infarction, heart failure and pneumonia starting in fiscal year 2013, with the list broadening in 2015.  Long-term care providers should be able to show what they are doing to keep a resident from going back into a hospital, said Anne Tumlinson, senior vice president at Avalere Health.

“Post-acute care providers will have to understand how they perform relative to their peers,” Tumlinson said in the Avalere Health webinar, “Hospital Readmissions: Opportunity or Threat?” on Tuesday. “The more information they have about their own performance, the greater the ability will be to form referrals.”

Hospitals can now give families performance data about post-acute facilities upon a loved one's discharge, noted Erik Johnson of Avalere. The work on reducing rehospitalizations has to be multipronged, with SNFs communicating interventions to potential problems to staff, and then communicating external successes with referring partners.

“Observe and collect information that shows risks of rehospitalization and target as efficiently as possible,” Tumlinson said.

Reduction in rehospitalizations also is a high priority of the American Health Care Association, which released its State of Long Term and Post-Acute Care on Monday.

“Many of our facilities are hiring doctors and reducing hospital readmissions,” said AHCA President and CEO Mark Parkinson in a statement. “We have improved in delivering a variety of healthcare options for seniors.”

Both AHCA and the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care called on President Obama to mention long-term care in his State of the Union address Tuesday.

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