Surviving the Impending Value-based Shakeout in Non-Acute Care

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

In a recent conversation with Vickie Harris, the President and founder of QEC Partners, and the immediately past board chair of the Middle Tennessee Council on Aging, we how some post-acute and non-acute providers may not make it to the world of value-based care in their current forms.

Winners and Losers – There Will Be Some of Both

Harris does not believe that every post- and non-acute provider that exists in the marketplace today will survive the transition to a pay-for-performance system. When asked about what would distinguish the survivors from the rest of the pack, she readily pointed to the importance of strong leadership and a formal business plan. The structure and management of an organization must ensure that every employee should understand their role within the context of the bigger picture. “If we’re onboarding people and they don’t understand what our expectations are [for them], we’re setting ourselves up for failure,” says Harris.

Focus on Consumers

In addition, it will become increasingly important to understand consumer expectations and have a more customer-friendly approach to care. Failing to meet those expectations may have an impact on the perceptions of care measures that in turn will drive at least some of the calculations determining reimbursement. Harris believes that the challenge will be to identify and close the gap between what organizations are currently doing and what consumers actually want.

Strengthen Communication

Post and non-acute providers will need to transition from a model that has been primarily focused on just delivering the healthcare or non-acute service to a model that begins with trying to understand and integrate the consumer’s expectations into the experience. That is going to require more and better communication. “People have choices. We’ve got to balance out our models around consumerism and creating that user experience,” says Harris.

Collaborate with Partners on Technology and other Systems

Harris also encourages collaboration—something that will be critical for some of the small providers that are fairly typical in the non-acute market. A failure to collaborate on operational issues such as technology and human resources may force some of the small providers out of existence. Harris recommends that they start now to form collaborative networks with their competitors in order to create the necessary infrastructure for technology, education and competency that will allow them to thrive in the age of value-based reimbursement.

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.