In three months, during the 2014 mid-term election campaign, Congress unanimously passed the bipartisan IMPACT Act to improve post-acute care quality and coordination. Post-election, it’s safe to say this is one healthcare reform that will remain intact.

As it should, because days before the President signed the IMPACT Act on October 6, CMS levied readmission fines on a record 2,610 hospitals. The IMPACT Act will help hospitals and systems more effectively coordinate with post-acute care, one of the best ways of avoiding readmission fines.

The new law standardizes reporting of patient assessments, resource use and quality measures. This will enhance coordination and, ultimately, Medicare reimbursement based on patients rather than settings. Currently, post-acute care is the largest driver of geographic variation in Medicare spending.

Meanwhile, MedPAC is saying hospitals should be allowed to steer beneficiaries to quality post-acute care providers. Some hospitals have already assembled informal post-acute networks that rely on standardized protocols and transfer forms. Still, the average hospital works with over 50 different post-acute providers.

Clearly, the time has come for seamless coordination of acute and post-acute care. Here are three questions you need to ask about your post-acute strategy:

  1. Have you built accountability mechanisms into your collaborations with post-acute care facilities?
  2. Do you have service level agreements in place with post-acute care facilities?
  3. Are you able to ensure a standard of care at post-acute care facilities consistent with your brand and reputation?

Numerof & Associates can assist with your post-acute care strategy, especially in the areas of strategy development, alliance evaluation, data analysis, market assessment, stakeholder alignment, population health, bundled payment and continuum of care integration. Our firm is a leader in developing value-based strategies for growth, and brings in-depth expertise in facilitating complex change.

Learn more about our perspectives and solutions for healthcare delivery or read case studies of our work with leading organizations.