When acute and post-acute talk, good things can happen

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James M. Berklan
James M. Berklan

A young parent's fond wish is that her child, or children, play well together with others. A busy young parent's fondest wish often is that the kids pretty much do this on their own.

That's the situation healthcare providers find themselves in quite often nowadays. Their "parent," the federal government, more often wants everybody to just get along. And all the better if they can figure it out for themselves. Just play nice.

Well, the sandbox is getting smaller and smaller, and the play space more crowded as providers and other major stakeholders struggle to figure out how to get the job done with limited means.

But that's what makes things like the 2nd Annual Summit for Acute & Post-Acute Care Providers so interesting. Here was largely a regional set of providers, payers, plans and others delving into "Insight and Perspectives on Care Coordination and Value-Based Payment." It happened in mid-April in St. Louis, as good a place as any to show what the heartland signifies for the rest of America.

"It was definitely not the same-old, same-old," noted event co-founder Joe Mulligan, managing director for investment banking firm Cain Brothers.

Although quality was stressed over quantity, organizers had plenty of both, with attendance rising to 270, up from 230 in the initial year. Some 40% were from St. Louis, 30% from the rest of Missouri and 30% from elsewhere. With good reason, too, given the national implications of the issues at hand. Seven collaborating industry and professional associations, representing everyone from hospice and home care providers to executive management and hospitals, took part.

Sessions involved heads of accountable care organizations telling how individuals' behavior needs to improve in order to boost overall healthcare outcomes and delivery. An opening session, in fact, tackled social determinants such as food insecurity/nutrition, education, transportation access and more. Existing programs that improve conditions, of course, were offered.

One program that was highlighted involves ProMedica, the Toledo, OH-based nonprofit hospital and health system that just last week bought into HCR ManorCare and the long-term care world. ProMedica operates a grocery store, mobile store and financial opportunity center. Its Ebeid Institute is a renowned research center that focuses on social determinants.

Managed care executives and physician groups also aired their views during the day's events near the St. Louis airport. Value-based payment business models were always in or near the conversation.

Technology was a special focus. Notably, Denise Rabidoux, CEO of Evangelical Homes of Michigan spoke how her 2,300-plus community of seniors is presented with cutting-edge technology. She also discussed EHM's “CCRC Without Walls” model.

Overall, the day's meetings were about building better relationships, Mulligan noted.

“You have to start talking to the hospitals, You have to talk to managed care organizations,” he said. “You have to start looking at the pharmaceutical companies and pharmacy benefit managers.

“Those four verticals — providers, physicians, PBMs and managed care — they don't play nice historically,” Mulligan reminded.

It's a time for change, and providers should embrace all kinds of 'playmates.' They're all going to be in your sandbox, if they aren't already.

Follow McKnight's Editor James M. Berklan @JimBerklan.


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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.