Unprecedented change in healthcare has led to new expectations from payers, providers, and consumers. The latest NIC Leadership Huddle, titled “Telehealth’s Tipping Point: The New Norm in Care and How to Build for Success” brought together telemedicine experts to cut through the hype. Attendees benefitted from a substantive discussion on building the right-sized telehealth program; selecting relevant telehealth services; addressing staffing issues, and picking the right technology and business models, as the industry moves to kickstart or enhance telehealth programs as part of the new normal.
Unlike home health and other post-acute sectors, skilled nursing operators and hospitals have not entered into many joint venture partnerships. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, may be the wakeup call hospitals need to consider more integrated relationships that strengthen alignment. In the latest NIC Leadership Huddle, titled “Skilled Nursing Integration: Will COVID be the Catalyst for Tighter Hospital Partnerships?” health system executives got together to discuss joint ventures with skilled nursing partners. Andre Maksimow, senior vice president, Kaufman Hall, began the discussion by illustrating how a Kaufman Hall client’s discharge pattern has changed over the pandemic. The Northeastern health system, which typically discharges 22,000 Medicare and Medicare Advantage patients annually, sent far fewer patients to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) last year. “It’s a two-order effect, a compound issue,” he explained, pointing out that, on one hand, there was “less volume coming out of the hospital,” and on the other, “less going to skilled nursing versus home health.” Skilled nursing providers in the area are currently seeing a 25% reduction in overall discharges.
In mid-September 2020, even as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to drive weaker occupancy rates, higher expenses, and intense media scrutiny of the senior living sector, a ten-property senior living portfolio was successfully closed in a recapitalization and acquisition deal.
With all-too-frequent headlines of “nursing home deaths,” federal and state deficits, increased competition from home health agencies, and historic low occupancy levels while wage pressures continue – how will the nursing home industry emerge from the pandemic? In the latest NIC Leadership Huddle event, expert panelists, and then attendees in small groups, joined a spirited discussion on the skilled nursing sector’s short-term and long-term operational challenges and the impact on property valuations.