Health-Care Reform and the Continuing Care Hospital Model

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hand down its decision on the health-care form law in June. Whether the law remains intact or is repealed, Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network is focused on providing high-quality post-acute care with the best possible patient outcomes.

One of the goals of the health-care reform law is to reduce health-care costs to the Medicare program. Good Shepherd supports this goal and is working to find ways to provide care that are more cost effective while improving care quality and patient outcomes and satisfaction. We will continue to do this whether health-care reform is affirmed or repealed.

One of our strategies is to move away from care that is provided in silos, where each provider just focuses on the level and type of care it provides, rather than collaborating with other providers to offer the best care options to the patient.

One possible way to break down the silos and achieve better outcomes at a reduced cost is the continuing care hospital model. To understand the continuing care hospital model, you first need to know that post-acute care has evolved to include multiple licenses for levels of care (inpatient rehabilitation hospital, long-term acute care, skilled nursing facility). These separate licenses have resulted in separate rules and regulations for each level of care that arbitrarily constrain the ways that we can deliver health services. The current rules and regulations for each licensed level of care make care more complex and costly.

By merging post-acute levels of care under one roof with one set of rules and regulations, the continuing care hospital model would eliminate silos of care and give providers like Good Shepherd greater ability to provide patients the level of care they need at the right time. This would reduce the cost of care, improve quality and enhance patient satisfaction.

The health-care reform law stipulates that the Medicare program conduct a test of the continuing care hospital. We hope that test will occur to prove that it is more cost-effective to provide post-acute care in an integrated manner.

Another important way to break out of siloed thinking is for acute-care and post-acute care health systems to collaborate. Good Shepherd is constantly looking for ways to do that in the Lehigh Valley region.

Whatever the future brings, Good Shepherd will continue to seek to partner with our area acute-care systems to find ways to provide quality patient care in a cost-effective manner.

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