Judged by the Company They Keep: SNFs and Home Health Agencies

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The interdependence of skilled nursing facilities and home health agencies is, in many ways, the greatest it has ever been.

Once seen as fierce competitors, they now need to become collaborators.

Consider the implications as these market conditions intersect:

  1. Skilled nursing facilities are struggling to fill beds, with occupancy dropping to 81.7%, the lowest point in five years (McKnight’s, September 15, 2017).
  2. More prospective residents are electing to stay home and receive care in the residential setting.
  3. The pressure to achieve better outcomes at a lower cost means average lengths of stay have dropped below 20 days as residents are moved to the lowest cost of care as quickly as possible (McKnight’s, October 23, 2017)
  4. 30-day readmissions to the hospitals are resulting in reimbursement penalties imposed on the hospitals

Skilled Nursing Facilities

Skilled nursing facilities have no choice but to find home care partners who can provide high quality care, avoid readmissions and minimize costs. As SNFs look for data upon which to judge potential home care partners (McKnight’s suggests: quality and provision of care provided; resident outcomes; resident experience; and readmission rates), home health agencies can actively market themselves to SNFs using benchmark data.  See our prior article on Post-Acute Network Selection Criteria, which speaks about specific indicators by which providers would be evaluated.

Home Health Agencies

Just as home health agencies have historically marketed themselves to hospitals (think C-Suite) by leveraging length of stay and patient outcome data, so too, that same data has significance with skilled nursing facilities. To better understand SNF’s, home health agencies need to know their average LOS and its trend and the % of patients who are being discharged to home health.  With this knowledge, agencies can determine how to position themselves to their potential collaborators.

The adage “you will be judged by the company you keep” seems to be in play here. For both skilled nursing facilities and home health agencies, success will be determined by the partners with whom you choose to work.