While COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on all health care providers, skilled nursing facilities (SNF) face a more urgent need due to the impact that the novel virus has on the elderly and vulnerable. While providers have faced challenges in infection control, protective equipment and staffing levels, what hasn’t changed is the need to attend to each patient’s unique medical and rehabilitation needs.
The pandemic has created a new reality, which requires SNFs to rethink strategies to best meet patient needs, particularly the delivery and therapy program management. That’s why one therapy provider has set itself apart as a solutions partner first, rather than merely a dispenser of therapy services.
“What we want to do is revolutionize the skilled nursing perception of a rehab partner,” says Mary Van de Kamp, Senior Vice President of Quality and Care Management at Louisville, Kentucky-based RehabCare. “This is not the same business that it was even two years ago.”
Van de Kamp views a SNF’s most pressing therapy needs as built largely around finding the right balance of resources for each patient: having the most appropriate management approach, recruiting the right staff, educating that staff, and staffing to patient complexity and volume. A SNF must establish a high level of functional, quality outcomes that provide an opportunity for it to give referral sources a strong care option.
“The flexibility and the fluidity as a partner to understand what the client needs at the time at which they need it, is where you have to be,” Van de Kamp says. “One size does not fit all. We are in an environment where the needs of individual skilled nursing providers are not the same, and we need to be able to understand their needs. A good rehab provider takes responsibilities and worries off your plate.”
RehabCare provides contract therapy services across multiple settings, including skilled nursing, and as a flexible rehab partner, it seeks to support SNF partners through program development, innovation, technology and support for claims denials and appeals. Depending on a given SNF’s needs, RehabCare can deliver the right expertise, scale and speed to market to support each contract partner on multiple levels, whether therapy program management or full service.
Here is a look at the ways a SNF can leverage its therapy partner.
Gain greater flexibility through therapy program management
Now more than ever, SNFs are re-evaluating their rehab management model. Whether they are currently in-house and considering outsourcing, or have a full-service outsourced model and are considering moving in-house, therapy program management enables the SNF to receive the precise amount of support it needs. As a scalable solution, this gives SNFs access to the latest education, review and reporting, reducing overall risk and providing access to a team available as needed.
This relationship is ideal for SNFs that want to focus their outside assistance in key areas, rather than a full-suite of support services. It also relieves some of the risk of going fully in-house with no support. Especially during this time of volatility and change, knowing a support team is still available when needed is a great advantage.
“Program management is a way in which we can provide guidance to your team on an ongoing basis,” Van de Kamp says. “You can then take the information we provide you and put into place as you see fit with your management team.”
Relieve the challenges of running rehab with full service
A SNF seeking to minimize risk and gain comprehensive support would move up to a full-service partnership. In full-service, SNFs can completely relieve the challenges of running rehab, including some of the most challenging aspects: recruitment, staffing, appeals and denials to a specialized partner.
While a full-service model is the most common offered by therapy partners, not all provide the same level of support and expertise. For instance, not all providers have access to national data, trends and best practices with the expertise to understand how these trends impact local facilities. Even with the shift to the data-centric Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM), many SNFs still need help accessing and utilizing data. A rehab partner can assist with this by being up on all regulatory changes, and by knowing enough to move away from utilization toward patient-focused care, something that RehbCare embraces, Van de Kamp says.
“The government has much more data, so we need to have a lot of data, too,” she says. “In this regulatory environment, a rehab partner cannot come into a SNF and work the same way as before. It must understand not just the care, but how the care fits into a value-based model to drive positive patient experience.”
Finding the right level of support for your facility’s unique needs
Levels of support should be adjustable based on need over time. It is not uncommon for RehabCare clients to move from therapy program management to full service and vice versa.
“After understanding and appreciating the challenges that programs such as PDPM have created, some clients have chosen to benefit from a full service relationship,” Van de Kamp says.
A need for competence and excellence are key drivers for pursuing a partnership with RehabCare. Studies show facilities that choose to outsource their rehab services do so to seek specialized expertise and gain clinical and operational efficiency. This motivation is second only to cost savings, as today’s environment presents many financial, clinical and operational challenges for facilities.
However, these challenges can be resolved through help from the right partner with access to proven solutions for efficiency and, ultimately, cost savings.
Therapy needs are growing more complex by the day. Contact RehabCare to see how their innovative solutions and flexible support models can help your facility overcome today’s challenges and reach greater levels of clinical and operational success.