Prepare for Disruption as Demographic Changes Hit Non-Acute Care

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

We recently spoke to Vickie Harris, the President and founder of QEC Partners, and the immediately past board chair of the Middle Tennessee Council on Aging. Harris recently sat down with HealthStream to talk about how post-acute and non-acute providers will need to adapt to survive in the world of value-based care.

Changing Times May Drive Some “Disruptive” Transitions

For the past decade, approximately 10,000 Baby Boomers have been reaching the age of 65 every day. Harris points to research that shows that these Boomers would prefer to age in place which means new and different opportunities will emerge in the post and non-acute markets to meet these needs. Given that these providers already have difficulty staffing to meet current needs, how will they meet the needs of this growing market going forward? Harris stresses the importance of re-engineering processes, and embracing technology and collaboration to find new ways in which to support community-based services.

Adapting to a New Operations Model

Nursing facilities are not only battling to survive in this new era of reimbursement, but they are also having to adapt to a dramatic shift in how skilled nursing facilities operate. “You’re seeing companies establish free-standing skilled nursing facilities. That leads that long-term services sector sitting there in these buildings, not able to cover their cost.” Harris says, she would love to see facilities begin to think of themselves not as nursing facilities, but as chronic condition management hubs for their communities. “How do they take their core competency around the work they do for the folks that they provide residence for and extend that into the community around them?”

Seek and Embrace Innovation

Now is the time for post and non-acute providers to think about what it is that really drives the value of their organizations. Harris encourages providers in this sector to think beyond bricks and mortar and traditional operational models. She points to the example of an innovative home health agency that is now providing chronic disease management; something that home health providers were simply not doing 15 years ago. Rather than provide episodic care, they are following patients for longer periods of time to help them manage their conditions and provide interventions before patients require more significant interventions and acute care. “I think, if we can take our business models and extend them out, we will have value to population health management and improve the quality of living of those we serve,” says Harris.

Harris believes that quality, efficiency and collaboration must be integral in the business models of the post and non-acute providers that will thrive in this new era of pay-for-performance reimbursement. She urges post and non-acute providers to:

  • Collaborate to be more efficient in education, staffing and technology.
  • Specialize to best align staffing, technology and marketing to the needs of the community and the upstream acute-care providers.
  • Measure to be sure that your processes work, provide value and are improving over time.

Learn more about HealthStream’s for Non-Acute Care Workforce Development.