Dale Zaletel works with networks across the full care continuum.

Skilled nursing providers should build partnerships with physician groups but need to stay abreast of legal frameworks, according to experts who spoke at McKnight’s Fall Online Expo.

Large physician groups, not hospitals, will be the driving force in the move to coordinated care, said Dale Zaletel, a senior operations consultant and post-acute development strategist. 

Large physician practice groups now offer many services once exclusive to hospitals, Zaletel said. Some physician groups have contracted with a managed care company and actively try to avoid sending patients to the hospital. Some hospitals have acquired or partnered with physician groups, but “physicians will ultimately drive the business into your beds,” Zaletel said. He advised SNFs to work with managed care companies involved with local physician groups.

A SNF should indeed try to become a preferred provider within its local network, but anti-kickback and antitrust issues must be considered, said Matthew J. Murer, chairman of the National Health Care Group at Chicago law firm Polsinelli.