“The playing field in which long-term care facilities operate is changing. In this environment, organizations need to be more strategic. Survival is not enough. They must position themselves for success,” advises Fran Kirley, President & Chief Executive Officer, Nexion Health Management.
Kirley gives an overview of how long-term and post acute care companies could modify their game plan to be successful.
How is the LTC business changing?
The playing field is changing. To make the analogy to football, the rules have changed and the field is now wider and longer. Therefore, companies have to modify their game plan. They can develop relationships with bundling organizations or become Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). They could look at the continuum of care and see how they can be more dynamic in their delivery of care.
A variety of different models are being developed, but scale will become more important, so larger providers will be more successful. Concentration in markets is also of value. Who they partner with and who they develop their referrals and medical support systems with is also going to be vital. This is all in addition to having the right staff and leadership to provide quality services.
How could they generate more revenue in this environment?
That is the biggest challenge in this industry today. ACOs, Medicaid and managed care organizations, everyone is out to reduce our revenue stream. We may need to provide a new product mix, ancilliary or other continuum of care services. All organizations will try to get the Medicare managed care business, so those that develop the best quality outcomes will succeed in the future.
What should be a bigger focus in this industry today?
We are in a dichotomy of an industry, as we have many LTC patients and acute rehab patients. We have to focus on two areas.
Quality has got to be outstanding. We need to manage clinical competency, good outcomes, and manage that patient population. The second issue is with the physical plants. Residents now expect private rooms and showers, but many are not designed like that.
Facilities need to be customer-focused. As the customer changes, the facility leadership, staff and the plants must change too. The patient population is very different from five years ago. There are more short-term patients, people who want access to the internet, private TVs and better food. Going forward, we need to be aware of what customers want.