By Rick Hunsicker, Vice President of Sales Services – Western Region
It’s clear that revenue from healthcare services of Life Plan Communities (formerly known as CCRCs) has been heavily impacted by the changes in reimbursement for these services. In fact, this occupancy and revenue situation is impacting all providers of skilled nursing and rehab services, and not just those that are part of a Life Plan Community.
According to the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC), nursing care occupancy bounced back slightly in the first quarter of 2017, after falling to its lowest rate in more than a decade. The NIC data shows the nursing care occupancy rate at 87.2 percent for the first quarter, up from 86.8 percent at the end of 2016.
There is now a great opportunity for Life Plan Communities to make an aggressive and well-planned approach, led by the CEO, to the smaller number of referral sources for skilled nursing and rehab services. The smaller number of referral sources is a result of hospitals and other Acute Care Organizations (ACOs) joining in with bundled payment organizations that are able to show a more cost-effective program of coordinated care that reduces the number of readmissions and increases the value of care measures.
So, why would Life Plan Communities have a unique opportunity and advantage over all of the other nursing care and rehabilitation providers?
The answer is the continuum of care in a Life Plan Community, but occurring in reverse of what we normally see.
The normal flow in a Life Plan Community is for the resident to enter the community in independent living, and then as care needs increase, they graduate to higher levels of care. Forward thinking CEOs are realizing the unique opportunity they have for those being discharged from acute care settings to make the move through the continuum in reverse.
The discharged patient becomes a resident of the Life Plan Community’s skilled nursing or rehab services first, and then graduates to a lower level of care as their health improves. With the ability to move on to assisted living or memory care, or even to independent living with limited home care services, the Life Plan Community is the most logical option for the senior to receive the highest level of independence while not returning to a house where less care is available and readmission is more likely.
Why does the CEO need to be involved?
Many of the decisions made about preferred providers are now being made in the C-Suite of hospitals and bundled care organizations. The CEO of a Life Plan Community or multi-site organization will have a much greater opportunity to gain access to this group of decision makers. And, this group of decision makers will be much more responsive to a CEO leading the charge.
What should the CEO do?
The CEO tasks the appropriate team members to gather all available information to determine which bundled care organizations or hospitals are generating the highest number of quality referrals. Then, research if there are specific types of care needs or diseases that are not being handled well by post-acute care providers that the organization could be a leader in delivering. For example, is there an opportunity to be a leader in cardiology or Parkinson’s care, diabetes, or orthopedics and others? It’s important to find out who is getting this business now and why. Then, the CEO and his or her team, with or without the help of a consultant, should develop a detailed plan on how to approach these organizations with a solution to become the trusted preferred provider.
By having the CEO lead the charge in presenting the unique advantages of their Life Plan Community or organization to the right key referral sources will lead to higher occupancy and revenue in all health-related services of the Life Plan Community.
For more information about ways CEOs can increase healthcare revenue, please contact Tim Bracken at 410-207-0013 or Rick Hunsicker at 214-906-3801.