Guest Blogger, Chris Carruthers


Christine Carruthers, Vice President Health Services Marketing at Love & Company, Inc.

The Importance of Tracking Satisfaction Levels because of  Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) for Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF)

 
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What is a VBP Program? 
The Hospital Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Program is a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) initiative that rewards acute-care hospitals with incentive payments for the quality of care they provide to Medicare beneficiaries.
Value-based purchasing can be thought of as a broad set of performance-based payment strategies that link financial incentives to providers’ performance on defined measurements.
Goals for success
Hospitals and skilled nursing facilities (SNF) have been forced to quickly improve in order to meet the VBP standards.  A key goal of VBP is to improve the functional capacity of providers, with an end result of improving quality of care while reducing costs.  VBP programs should affect providers’ willingness to change, adapt a measurement system to identify problems, and be able to respond to correct quality shortcomings.
Staying competitive
Tracking satisfaction levels is important in order to remain competitive within VBP markets.  Until any changes are made in the Affordable Care Act, hospitals will continue to be required to provide a higher quality of care at a reduced cost, which means that they will continue to partner with SNFs who can show consistent quality of care outcomes within the appropriate days allowed for rehabilitation under the VBP program.
Communication between the hospitals, physicians and SNFs is vital, so how can each entity consistently provide outcomes and other patient care information on a regular basis?  Integrated data systems.
Electronic medical records (EMR) allow both hospitals and physicians access to medical information that reinforces the relationship with the VBP.  Collaboration between all entities allows for conversations about promoting innovation to fix fundamental problems leading to poor quality and outcomes within provider organizations.
Physicians want to be a part of care management and should be consulted on care protocols.
Protocols for high risk patients are another way that SNFs can collaborate with physicians, in order to reduce hospital readmission rates.   Risk assessment tools and provision of clinical decision support are key factors in these protocols.
SNFs are investing in a staff member whose sole responsibility is to provide concierge services.  The concierge visits patients on a regular basis in order assure their needs are being met regarding pain management, therapy and overall satisfaction.  A standard satisfaction survey is completed by the patient, focusing on the patient’s expectations being met (or not).  Then more importantly, the concierge follows them after their discharge to assure they have scheduled follow up appointments with the physician and makes sure they are able to fill their prescriptions.  Some go as far as scheduling their physician appointment and accompanying them to reduce the risk for hospital readmission.  Some even make home visits to higher risk patients after discharge from the SNF.
Must do:
  • Track quality metrics in your facility, compare your scores to state and national benchmarks and integrate them into your Quality Assurance Performance Improvement program as needed.
  • Implement the INTERACT tools if you have not already done so. These are great tools to help you reduce re-hospitalization rates. 
  • Remember that the SNF VBP relates to re-hospitalization for 30 days from admission. Therefore, tracking after discharge and good communication with home health agencies and other post-acute care providers is a must.
     
For more information about Love & Company, please contact Chris Carruthers at ccarruthers@loveandcompany.com or visit  www.loveandcompany.com.
Love & Company is a national senior living consulting and marketing company with offices in Frederick, Maryland and Dallas, Texas.

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