LTC earning seat at the table for preventing readmissions

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Anthony Laflen, director of data analytics for Consonus
Anthony Laflen, director of data analytics for Consonus

Skilled-nursing leaders have long desired a seat at the table to help hospitals prevent readmissions, and a new collaboration aims to make it happen.

Portland, OR-based Consonus Healthcare — which provides consulting, pharmacy and other services to long-term care facilities — has announced that it's partnering with Collective Medical, a Salt Lake City firm that assists providers with care coordination.

With that, Consonus's 300 SNFs across the country will begin collaborating closely with hospitals, receiving alerts and insights that key providers into when a patient might be at risk for a readmission, has a history of violence, or has any unique care guidelines.

The hope is that this partnership will help smooth care transitions from the hospital to skilled nursing and prevent costly readmissions. About 20% of Medicare patients discharged from a hospital are readmitted within the next 30 days, costing CMS some $26 billion annually, the partners note.

They hope closing the information gap will make such return trips to the hospital evaporate. Anthony Laflen, director of data analytics for Consonus, said they expect to reduce readmissions by as much as 25%. He believes they are the first SNF in the U.S. to share real-time data with hospitals.

In the past, the lack of transparency between the two sides meant Consonus was often chastised for readmissions, without data to back it up. At times, patients were being put in an ambulance literally with a paper record on his or her chest.

“We as skilled nursing home operators are about to be held financially accountable for our own readmission rates, and a lot of that goes back to miscommunication and lack of information,” Laflen said. “This is going to blur the lines between our electronic health record and the hospital's electronic health record.”