Acute Agility: Benefits of Collocation of Post-Acute Services



As the medical complexity of patients continues to increase, it is important for providers to be flexible in their ability to meet current and future patient needs.

But flexibility isn’t just important in an immediate crisis – it’s something health officials should be thinking about in a rapidly changing healthcare landscape, as patient preferences and reimbursement continue to shrink. switch.

This article provides an overview of colocation, a model of market expansion that enables healthcare systems to be more agile in their ability to meet changing needs.

To effectively prepare for the future, healthcare systems should consider consolidating a variety of services on their hospital campuses beyond short-term acute care, including rehabilitation, long-term acute care and behavioral health, and allow flexible designation of beds. through these services.

The case of colocation
Advances in medicine and growth in life expectancy have resulted in an increase in the complexity of cases in health systems across the country. “Health systems will need to be able to provide highly specialized care, all along their continuum, to support medically complex patients and ensure they achieve the best possible outcomes,” said Benjamin Breier, CEO of Kindred Healthcare .

While the pandemic has allowed executives to break down barriers to innovation, it has also caused a looming behavioral health crisis. Public health experts said in a British Medical Journal blog that they believe “the impact of the pandemic on mental health is likely to last much longer than the impact on physical health.”

Finally, a wave of consumerism in healthcare settings is forcing healthcare systems to exert more influence over the patient experience across the continuum of care. Consumers have access to more information about healthcare organizations than ever before and are increasingly doing their own research to determine the best framework of care for themselves and their loved ones. Breier believes this ultimately drives patients to choose a post-acute care option that allows them to return home as quickly and safely as possible.

“Health systems across the country are forced to adapt and respond quickly to the changing needs of patients, while maintaining financial stability and high quality outcomes. The co-location of several services on the same campus and the offering of these specialized services in the continuum of a system opens the door to more high-quality programs that have a positive impact on the health system, ”said Breier.

How colocation and bed flexibility benefit the health of patients and the population:

1. Ease of access
Patients who require high-intensity rehabilitation services in a hospital with co-located services are able to move to a new targeted care facility located on the same campus, eliminating the need to transfer elsewhere. Transfers between facilities can not only be high risk and medically difficult, but they are also inconvenient for patients.

2. Continuing specialized care and differentiation from post-acute competition
By co-locating specialist services on site and integrating an interdisciplinary rehabilitation program into their campus, leaders allow daily access to a specialist in rehabilitation and help ensure 24-hour nursing coverage for the patients in their care. When combined with a long-term acute care hospital (LTACH), specialist physicians can also be readily available on demand for patient needs.

3. Shortening the length of stay
Intensive rehabilitation care in an acute rehabilitation unit (ARU) can reduce length of stay and be more cost effective compared to other post-acute care facilities. It can also reduce readmissions, a key indicator of value-based reimbursement. Patients who receive care in an ARU are much more likely to return to the community than to return to an acute care hospital.

4. Addressing the Gaps in Behavioral Health of Inpatients
Behavioral health inpatient beds are at an all-time low and demand is incredibly high. This model offers significant financial incentives to support inpatient behavioral health beds. Co-locating more behavioral health beds on a healthcare system campus helps get patients out of the emergency department faster, frees up medico-surgical capacity, and provides patients with the specialized care they need.

Specialized hospital partnership solutions
Kindred partners with healthcare systems to develop co-location and specialist service strategies that meet the specific needs and opportunities of patients in the communities they serve.

“Kindred is unique in that we offer flexible service offerings, such as LTACHs with specialized acute rehabilitation units or dedicated behavioral health units,” said Breier. “We are working with partners to determine the best solution to meet the needs of their community, whether it is a specialized unit, a hospital within a hospital or the construction of a new hospital. autonomous.
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Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services works with over 300 hospital programs nationwide to deliver the best possible clinical and operational outcomes.



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