Sabra Health Care REIT (Nasdaq: SBRA) last week announced a strategic partnership with health care data analytics firm PointRight, in a move the companies are describing as a more proactive approach to monitoring individual skilled nursing facility performance.
Under the agreement, tenants of Sabra-owned nursing homes will be able to use PointRight’s data software for free, with the goal of rooting out any potential issues before they have a chance to translate into real-world problems, according to Sabra executive vice president of asset management Peter Nyland.
“We really look at our relationships differently,” Nyland told Skilled Nursing News, pointing to the operations backgrounds of himself and company CEO Rick Matros. “We really try to invest in our relationships and have a collaborative approach with our partners, and try to create win-win situations.”
Participating skilled nursing facilities in Sabra’s portfolio will have access to PointRight tools that track Medicare reporting requirements, 30-day rehospitalization rates, and Five-Star Quality Rating System data — including a program that allows administrators to perform “what-if” scenarios to determine how changes in staffing, outcomes, or other metrics would affect the overall Nursing Home Compare rating.
While the SNFs can use that data to monitor their own performance and make necessary changes, Sabra will also be able to view the information in a higher-level dashboard, scrubbed of individual resident data to comply with federal medical privacy laws.
“It’s a normal thing for us to look at data and to ask operational questions around data, and these just happen to be more clinically based information to help our partners improve,” Nyland said.
The Irvine, Calif.-based Sabra isn’t providing direct incentives for tenants who choose to adopt the software, but Nyland noted that there’s direct benefits in identifying certain trends. For instance, seeing a rise in 30-day rehospitalization rates — which, under the new SNF Value-Based Purchasing Program, could hurt a building’s ability to earn back mandatory Medicare reimbursement cuts — could prompt management to take corrective action that saves money in the long run.
“Maybe it’s a specific issue that now presents an educational opportunity for the clinical staff,” Nyland said. “Maybe they need a different level of physician engagement or nurse practitioner engagement. It helps improve quality as well.”
Real estate investment trusts (REITs) — including Sabra — had purchased nursing home performance data from the Cambridge, Mass.-based PointRight in the past, but landlords were typically interested in evaluating potential acquisitions or dispositions, PointRight CEO Steven Scott said. The deal with Sabra marks the first partnership in which a REIT planned on using the data on an ongoing basis to make changes and boost its chances for success.
“From a regulatory perspective, from a revenue perspective, labor solutions — all the different solutions sets, this is the first time that a REIT has actively looked and managed their portfolio as a whole that way, versus one-off,” Scott said.
The deal comes at a time when data has taken on outsized importance in the skilled nursing world. Amid value-based purchasing and the rise of Medicare Advantage plans, providers feel increased pressure to show their worth to a narrowing group of referral partners. As many players have observed over the past year, simply having a clean facility and providing occasional refreshments to area discharge coordinators isn’t enough to ensure success in the market.
“It’s not good enough that you say you can do it, and that you have the staff to do it,” Scott said. “Show me the outcomes and prove that you can do it.”
Written by Alex Spanko