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Skilled Nursing Facilities Seek Solutions to Address Quality as Interest in Post-Acute Care Transitions is on the Rise

BROOMFIELD, CO–Long-term care facilities play a critical role in caring for the needs of a growing aging population with a lengthening lifespan. These dynamics are made increasingly complex by proposed changes to reimbursement for skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), evolving relationships with acute care networks and challenging delivery logistics involved with a separate central pharmacy. To address these challenges, Swisslog Healthcare is partnering with long-term care facilities and pharmacies to deliver in-facility dispensing technology that increases medication access, minimizes waste and increases resident safety.

As the impact of skilled nursing facilities on hospital readmission rates is recognized by hospitals and health systems, the rate of post-acute facility acquisitions and affiliations grows. The percentage of acute care hospitals having common investor ties to the post-acute or hospice sectors increased from 24.6% in 2005 to 48.9% in 2015, according to Health Affairs.

“Naturally, common ownership can impact provider behavior,” explains Huan Nguyen, Vice President of Long-Term Care Business Development for Swisslog Healthcare. “By minimizing unsubstantiated clinical variation and employing best practices for medication management, preferred networks of skilled nursing facilities can help mitigate the risk of 30-day readmission penalties.”

In 2015, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center founded the Enhanced Care Program, delivering transition services at no cost to eight SNFs in their market. As a result, Cedars-Sinai has seen a 25% reduction in 30-day readmissions from the participating SNFs.

In addition to preferred SNF networks, hospital-owned long-term care facilities are benefiting from greater access to technology that drive enhanced quality measures. Through investments in automation, these health system pharmacies can extend their reach without straining existing staff. In-facility packaging and dispensing automation enables this model by acting as a pharmacy on site, ensuring medication availability and improving the quality of care delivery.