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Skilled Nursing News Hosts First Annual Summit

AAPACN President and CEO, Tracey Moorhead, attended Skilled Nursing News’ (SNN’s) inaugural, half-day Summit in Chicago on June 6. The event attracted more than 250 skilled nursing leaders representing providers, investors, technology innovators, and business solutions. Panels addressed Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM) preparedness, merger and acquisition activity, and Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) specialization for business advantage. A final panel offered perspectives from the C-Suite. SNN reporters Maggie Flynn and Alex Spanko moderated the panels and offered insights based on their own industry knowledge.

The PDPM panel included representatives from Zimmet Healthcare, LeadingAge, and Health Dimensions Group. Speakers offered action items to guide providers in advance of PDPM implementation on Oct. 1, 2019. Aaron Tripp, VP of Reimbursement and Financing Policy at LeadingAge, noted that providers should not stress and should continue to focus on “good assessment and documentation.” He pointed out that patients will be the same on Oct. 1 as they were on Sept. 30. Vincent Fedele, Director of Analytics at Zimmet Healthcare Services, cited the need for strong compliance to support documentation and narratives to support clinical eligibility for skilled services. Erin Hennessey, CEO of Health Dimensions Group, stressed that providers need to have a solid understanding of PDPM’s impact on the larger continuum – especially the impact it can have with hospital partners.

The merger and acquisition panel identified factors important to attracting investors including other providers in the community, quality metrics, and age of facilities and systems. Surprising, the panelists professed a lack of knowledge of innovative payment models, including Institutional-Special Needs Plans (I-SNPs).

The SNF specialization panel discussed new operating models and strategies. Panelist Tim Fields, CEO of Ignite Medical Resorts, offered a list of medically complex conditions that may be appropriate under PDPM including respiratory, cardiac rehab, neuro/stroke rehab, and dialysis. Mark Fritz, President of Bridgemoor Transitional Care, cited the opportunity to focus on short-term care. Blake Gillman, Vice President and Director of Post Care Services at LCS, discussed factors in deciding whether to add more medically complex capabilities including culture, existing competencies, data, and existing partnerships.  All panelists agreed that SNFs should position themselves to attract patients who might otherwise be sent to an LTC hospital and cited the value of social media and personal recommendations from patients and family members.

Finally, the C-Suite panel included George Hager, CEO of Genesys HealthCare, Martha Schram, President and CEO of Aegis Therapies, and Brian Cloch, Chairman at AttunedCare. Schram discussed the role of therapy under PDPM and forecasted that providers would be unlikely to move the service in-house. Rather than moving in-house, she predicted that therapy services will increasingly become a bigger part of the discussion around value and outcomes, especially as alternative payment and risk-based models become more widely adopted. Hager provided the most insightful perspective of the industry in five years, noting that the over-85 population will expand in numbers after 2019 and that the industry will further bifurcate between long-term and short-stay providers. All panelists agreed that Medicaid funding challenges provided the biggest threat to providers. Cloch noted that, “Medicare patients are becoming scarce resources” as Medicaid patients are rapidly increasing in number. He cautioned that the imbalance of Medicare vs. Medicaid patients does not mean, however, that providers can afford to ignore PDPM.

SNN has already announced that the event will be repeated in 2020.

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