#41 Standardizing & Systematizing ‘Post-Acute’ Care: The Next Frontier of Healthcare Delivery

Despite the fact that nearly one in five hospitalized patients is discharged to a skilled nursing facility, inpatient rehabilitation service or into a home health care program – the so-called ‘post-acute’ care space remains a largely opaque and overlooked sector of healthcare for most hospital administrators and providers of care. It’s also extremely confusing to patients and their families.

Adding to this complexity and confusion is the tremendous unwarranted variation in post-acute care. There is little standardization in how decisions are made as to where patients might be optimally discharged; and there is a staggering amount of harmful and costly variation in how patients are cared for in post-acute care facilities/programs.

But, market forces and CMS-driven payments and penalties have recently brought post-acute care front and center for providers and hospital systems; and have also caught the attention of Wall Street investors, and corporations who are making significant R&D investments in this space. These forces are moving things favorably toward a triple-aim vision for post-acute care – great care & outcomes, outstanding experience & cost effectiveness.

We are fortunate to have an expert on this episode who can clear some of the mist and misunderstanding shrouding this domain of care. Mr. Andy Edeburn is a Principal with Premier, Inc., with nearly 20 years of healthcare consulting experience specializing in acute, post-acute, and senior care services.  Mr. Edeburn is a nationally recognized expert who guides organizations through strategic deployment around acute and post-acute partnerships, new programs, and facility and redevelopment efforts – establishing value-based, outcome-oriented relationships as organizations transition from the fee-for-service environment.

In this episode, what you’ll discover includes:

  • The major levers that hospital systems and integrated delivery networks rely upon to positively impact post-acute care.
  • Which set of interventions have proven to be the most powerful in managing post-acute care spending and outcomes.
  • Some insights into the profound disruption that is about to occur in the post-acute care industry due to the impending site-neutral, unified payment that CMS is planning to implement.
  • Which specific area of the post-acute care space has become the darling of Wall Street, as well as the focus of huge investments on the part of vendors such as Phillips and Samsung.

The so-called post-acute care space is likely the next frontier of standardization and systematization in healthcare delivery.  It seems that few healthcare systems have ventured into this arena with a deliberate, well-resourced, comprehensive program to optimize care. To my mind, post-acute care, or perhaps what might be termed ‘sub-acute’ care, represents one of the most significant opportunities we have to improve care and the care experience for one of the most vulnerable and costly moments in the continuum of healthcare delivery.  It is also an opportunity to provide direction to providers, so they can bring both health and dignity to patients and their families who require this level of care.

In addition to his broad experience and depth of knowledge, Andy Edeburn – our expert guest and guide in this podcast episode – has the gift of making this highly complex area seem a bit more straightforward and understandable. Andy not only provides us with a better understanding of the problem; he informs us on potential high leverage solutions.

As always, I hope you get as much out of this interview as I have!

Zeev Neuwirth, MD