SNF Community Partnership Shores Up Accountable Care

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013
This post was written by Jessica Fornarotto

To support ACO construction, industry thought leaders advise hospitals to monitor what goes on across its care continuum and to partner with facilities it discharges its patients to most often to reduce 30-day readmissions. A prime example is the skilled nursing facility (SNF) network coordinated by Summa Health System, discussed here by Carolyn Holder, manager of transitional care for Summa Health System, and Michael Demagall, administrator of Bath Manor & Windsong Care Center.

(Carolyn Holder) We have been working on a pilot model for accountable care. Accountable care is the focus on primary care wellness in population health. Patients and families need to be actively engaged in this process. It coincides with having the right level of care provided to the patient where they need it, and that is what we are talking about with accountable care. You need partnering relationships between hospitals and physicians and through all levels of care to be able to support that individual in their wellness or illness effectively.

What is the value of this care coordination that worked in the accountable care model of care? It relates to the Triple Aims and looking at providing safe, patient-centered, timely care. We are collaborating to do that with our partner facilities. We have been working at improving health and patient populations in communities. Patients in this situation need rehab, so they have had some functional impairments and frailty. We are trying to get them back to their optimal level of function. To do this, we partner with our SNFs to support that level of care and lower the per capita cost of healthcare.

We also work with community-based long-term care. That has certainly not taken away from any of our nursing facilities any patients that are appropriate or keeping them in the optimal function that they would want.

(Mike Demagall) Through this development of the ACO on the skilled nursing side in working with the hospitals, one thing we focused on was the key indicator comparisons for our 2010 data.

Along with the hospital, we will provide standardized numbers of information that we can get back, that we are going to be held accountable for from the SNF side. The hospital knows what we do is safe and efficient, patient-centered and equitable for everybody involved. As we move forward with the ACO through care coordination, we will look at numbers and information that we can share as a community with the health system so they know what the facilities are doing. There are many reasons that is done, but one of the greatest accomplishments is everybody working together.

Out of 39 homes in the county, the collaboration has been incredible. Initially there was some hesitation, but the collaboration has moved forward, and we are not afraid to share that information. The information is blocked and as we provide information back, it will be blocked from other members except for the hospital, who knows who those numbers are. However, from my facility, I may see a readmission rate at one facility lower than ours although we have the same type of case mix index. I need to look at our facility and ask, “What can we do to get better? What are they doing that we aren’t?” Therefore, everybody gets better as a group, and that is ultimately the goal of the community and the health population in the community we serve.

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