Partnering with hospitals in the ACO era (Part II)

Last week in my first blog on partnering with hospitals in the ACO era, I offered a recap of a session I attended during the recent Assisted Living Federation of America Conference & Expo in Orlando. There, Sarah Katz, a consultant with The Advisory Board Company provided a valuable overview of how hospitals approach relationship development with suggestions on how post-acute providers can position themselves to optimize partnerships.

It’s a timely yet confounding topic for long-term care (LTC) providers. Attendees at Katz’s session expressed frustration over a wide range of issues, including dealing with multiple ACOs, the role of long-term care in the ACO world, and the cost of investing in new technologies “with an uncertain return on investment,” as one provider suggested.

Despite the uncertainties, LTC providers should be preparing today for accountable care’s future, said Katz. The Advisory Board Company offers the following guidelines:

Accountable Care Strategy Essential to Maintaining Referral Streams

· In preparation for accountable care, hospitals are examining all aspects of operations to identify opportunities to reduce costs and improve quality.

· To secure continued market relevance, providers must position themselves as high-quality, low-cost providers to ACO leaders and commit resources to building ACO relationships.

Variance in Accountable Care Adoption Necessitates Customized Approach

· The pace and breadth of ACO adoption will vary significantly by market and provider.

· To ensure a return on hospital outreach efforts, providers must perform an ACO readiness assessment to determine hospitals’ willingness to invest time in post-acute relationship development.

Effective Communication of Superior Quality Confers Competitive Advantage

· The common focus of emerging payment models on improving care coordination will yield a competitive advantage to LTC providers who can communicate superior performance in readmissions reductions and care transition improvements.

· To hardwire referral streams providers must not only improve internal performance but effectively communicate this improvement to key hospital constituencies.

Staff Support Essential to Accountable Care Success

· Accountable care represents a paradigm shift in care delivery and may incur staff resistance to change.

· To ensure support of hospital relationship development and clinical quality improvement initiatives, LTC leaders must educate staff on the motivations behind and potential rewards of becoming a strategic partner in the era of accountable care.

For additional information on this topic, join us tomorrow, April 20 for a webinar on ACOs titled "The Countdown to Outcome-Driven Healthcare—Are You Ready?" The program will educate providers on core strategies including how to differentiate, accelerate, compete, and win in today’s ACO-driven healthcare environment. To register, click here.

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