In the era of value-based care and bundled payments, selecting the appropriate post-acute setting and provider for patients is more important than ever. Where they receive care matters for the patient’s outcome.

Recently, Julie Duck, our senior vice president of financial operations, and I had the opportunity to discuss the value of inpatient rehabilitation at the Healthcare Financial Management Association’s MidSouth Institute. Here are three takeaways from that presentation:

  1. The move to integrated care across the continuum isn’t going away. Recent regulatory changes to payment models for long-term acute care hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and home health agencies are precursors to this move. To succeed in this healthcare landscape, providers must build strategic relationships across the healthcare continuum and consistently provide high-quality care that is cost-effective. Selecting the appropriate post-acute care partner has the potential to improve outcomes, as well as reduce the overall cost of care.
  2. Inpatient rehabilitation is best equipped to handle complex patients. Complex, high acuity patients are best served in an inpatient setting. Inpatient rehabilitation is the only post-acute setting with the physician, nursing and therapy coverage needed to best serve medically complex patients who are in need of physical rehabilitation. For patients who can benefit from the level of care at an inpatient rehabilitation hospital, they will receive a minimum of three hours of therapy, five days a week or 15 hours over seven days.
  3. Independent studies confirm that inpatient rehabilitation is the best setting for stroke patients. According to the American Heart Association’s 2016 adult guidelines for stroke rehabilitation, stroke patients should be treated at an inpatient rehabilitation facility. The Department of Veterans Affairs endorses the AHA/ASA Guidelines in their 2019 Guidelines on Stroke Rehabilitation, and a 2019 JAMA article concluded inpatient rehabilitation hospitals provide greater improvement in mobility and self-care for patients.

At Encompass Health, we search for innovative ways to improve outcomes and reduce readmissions. Thanks to our robust network of hospitals and a proprietary electronic health record (EHR) specific to inpatient rehabilitation, we are developing best practices and post-acute solutions to improve outcomes and reduce the overall spend across the continuum of care.

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