In the new world of value-based health care, success for hospitals increasingly depends on partnering with nursing homes and other post-acute-care providers that can play a big role in improving a patient’s overall quality of care after discharge and in minimizing hospital readmissions.
Minimizing readmissions is important, because Medicare penalizes hospitals for excessive return stays within 30 days of discharge on the grounds that they may indicate problems with the quality of care received during the first admission or a lack of care co-ordination after the patient leaves the hospital.
That means hospitals must have strong collaborations with nursing homes, also known as skilled nursing facilities, or SNFs, and must be able to depend on them to perform effective work. Assessing that effectiveness necessarily means reviewing performance data, but that’s where things can get complicated. While performance data should drive hospitals’ decisions on which SNFs to include in their referral networks, hospitals’ choices sometimes are driven by other considerations.