Dialysis services have emerged as a potential growth area under multiple new Medicare payment models, and a skilled nursing provider in the Northeast has joined a growing list of companies partnering with vendors providing renal care.
Marquis Health Services earlier this month teamed up with Compass Home Dialysis to provide staff-assisted bedside hemodialysis services at Providence Rehabilitation Center in Yeadon, Pa., a move that Marquis’s leaders say has potential for reimbursement growth and increased patient care in an underserved market.
The Brick, N.J.-based Marquis operates about 3,000 beds across 23 facilities in the Mid-Atlantic and New England facilities. The 129-bed Providence provides post-hospital care, short-term rehab, and long-term residential care.
The Providence facility currently serves eight dialysis patients with the capacity to serve 16, and will continue to increase services. Marquis plans to add two more dialysis units in the Philadelphia market in the near future.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently proposed an expansion of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) dialysis reimbursements in skilled nursing environments, a sector considered the resident’s “home” for the purposes of Medicare payments. Skilled nursing operators are optimistic that the rule could help renal services emerge as a specialty strategy — particularly since the Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM) also incentivizes facilities to care for more medically complex residents.
For Marquis and Providence, the new relationship will allow residents to receive dialysis care in house, eliminating long travel times to off-site dialysis centers — which can be costly and potentially dangerous for vulnerable nursing home residents.
Jeremy Graves, COO of Compass Home Dialysis, told SNN that Compass works with Providence’s short-term patients with an average stay between 23 to 28 days.
Compass staffers serve residents on a one-on-one basis from the beginning of their stay through discharge — and then back in their homes if needed, a new initiative branded as Dialysis Your Way (DYW).
“We take a traditional patient in a nursing home for a short-term stay, provide treatment, and they start feeling better sooner with in-house machines and on site nurses,” Graves said.
Mike Smith, division president at Marquis Health Services, said that partnering with Compass allows the organization to “successfully care for higher acuity patients with higher reimbursement under the PDPM model.” Compass will also expand the company’s potential referral pool by allowing Marquis to care for residents who otherwise would be unable to stay in a nursing home without dialysis treatment.
Marquis isn’t the only skilled nursing company that has entered the dialysis space in an attempt to adapt to PDPM and other new payment models.
Heddington Oaks — a nursing home owned by Peoria County, Ill. — partnered with third-party vendor Dialyze Direct to provide equipment and renal training, with a stated goal of taking in an additional $1 million per year. Ignite Medical Resorts, a Chicagoland-based group of higher-end rehab-focused facilities, also teamed with with Concerto Renal Services, which provides three-day nursing home dialysis, to administer services at a Wisconsin facility currently under development.
Smith expects a “23% reduction in hospital readmissions,” as part of Compass’s training programs for bedside dialysis, emphasizing the importance of having qualified staff or partners to pair up with dialysis patients.
Although the cost of using Compass’s staff at Marquis facilities isn’t covered under Medicare, “the expense of dialysis is offset by the expense reduction on transportation costs,” Smith said.
Before working with Compass, the organization had to pay for wheelchair van services and ambulances to transport residents to offsite dialysis centers — a $100 fee each way.