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Survive or Thrive: Where Long Term Care Goes from Here

Long-term care providers already were facing serious challenges before the COVID-19 pandemic appeared:

  • Over the past several years, CMS has increased pressure on these organizations to improve care by implementing quality measurement and benchmarking programs similar to those already in place in acute care hospitals. Along with these new standards have come increased regulatory scrutiny.
  • In an attempt to improve efficiency and decrease inpatient lengths of stay, hospital leaders have been quicker to move patients from inpatient to post-acute care settings, even though standards for quality and safety may not yet be in place to support these transitions.
  • Organizations throughout the continuum of care struggle to attract and retain staff. Long-term care and home health providers may have turnover rates approaching 80% and offer pay rates in the $10.50 - $12.50 range. Many who work in these organizations are living at or below the poverty line. When workers have physically easier, more lucrative work alternatives in retail establishments, it is not hard to see why demanding jobs providing long-term care or home health assistance can be hard to fill. The high churn among employees subsequently makes it difficult for these organizations to train and develop staff so that a consistent level of quality care can be delivered.
  • Organizations in the continuum of care are facing cuts in reimbursement from Medicaid and other key payers. For example, new rules that abolish automatic 30-day levels of physical therapy as part of a patient rehabilitation program will drastically reduce reimbursement levels. This new rule threatens the viability of as many as 30% of smaller therapy and home health providers.
  • Organizations are also facing challenges dealing with the new abuse icons, preventing resident or customer falls, and implementing more detailed emergency preparedness plans.
  • Creating a perfect storm, COVID-19 has hit these organizations particularly hard, exposing weaknesses in many areas. Organizations have had to put new infection control procedures in place; they have had to procure PPE for staff and train them to use it; and they have encountered shortages in the equipment and supplies needed to provide the best care for COVID-19 residents. One result has been an alarmingly high death rate among those who have contracted COVID-19 in these care environments.

In our e-Book, Survive or Thrive? Where Long-Term Care Goes from Here, HealthStream takes a broad look at the issues that organizations across the continuum of care are facing. We present the results of a survey HealthStream conducted among healthcare leaders in the long-term care and home health industries, where a high percentage of managers concede the pandemic is the “worst healthcare crisis they have experienced” in their careers. We also discuss the current landscape for long-term care and present a two-part series on trends impacting this industry. Access the e-Book here.

We hope this information is helpful to you and will inform your own organizational decision-making. For more information about care continuum trends and how HealthStream can help your organization improve outcomes and the workforce that creates them, go to https://www.healthstream.com/continuum.

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