At Encompass Health, we have a history of adapting to change and doing it well. If there was ever a year that proved just that, it was 2020.
Recently, we released our fourth quarter earnings and year-end results. Despite the changes 2020 brought, our company continued to provide vital care to an aging population through our network of inpatient rehabilitation hospitals and home health and hospice locations.
With at least two vaccines now in distribution and the world gradually returning to normal, we are well positioned to build on our successes in 2021 and beyond.
Expanding our national footprint
In 2020, we opened four new hospitals and expanded existing hospitals by 117 beds. This year, we expect to open eight new hospitals and add 100 to 150 beds to existing hospitals. We expect to open another 10 hospitals in 2022 and anticipate more development announcements throughout this year.
Developing and implementing post-acute solutions
Our robust post-acute dataset of electronic medical records is allowing us to develop predictive models to improve patient care and outcomes. In 2020, we deployed our latest model, the Readmission Prevention Program, which uses predictive analytics to determine a patient’s risk of a readmission after they leave our hospital. If a patient is identified as high risk, we alert the home health provider—whether it’s ours or another—of the risk so that provider can take action to prevent a readmission.
Our focus is to continue addressing those issues that can negatively impact a patient’s recovery and increase the cost of care. We are currently working on a fall prevention model that is specific to inpatient rehabilitation.
Educating stakeholders on our level of care and value
We made great strides in 2020 in showing the value of inpatient rehabilitation, and more specifically, how Encompass Health is a high-quality, cost-effective provider for both healthcare providers and insurers. Our Medicare Advantage discharges increased 34 percent year over year, and we plan to build on that momentum in 2021, by focusing on our partnerships with local and regional MA medical directors, who heavily influence the pre-authorization process.
Continuing our sponsorship with AHA/ASA
Our strategic sponsorship with American Heart Association/American Stroke Association will continue in 2021. We will continue to produce educational materials for providers on how inpatient rehabilitation is the superior setting for stroke survivors. Also, we will continue to educate patients and caregivers on the importance of rehabilitation after a stroke by sharing patient success stories and educational how-to videos for stroke survivors on the AHA/ASA network.
Exploring strategic alternatives for our home health and hospice segment
Announced in December, our strategic review is ongoing, and no time table has been established for its completion. At this time, we remain focused on growing our existing strategy. We look forward to the return of elective procedures this year, which we believe will grow our admissions in home health, and we look forward to the continuation of the strong admission trends we have experienced in hospice.
Executing on our strategy
There’s no doubt that 2020 brought many changes, but that does not change the fact that our business fundamentals are intact and strong. COVID-19 may have just solidified that fact, as we treated many recovering from life-threatening complications due to the virus. And, we achieved good outcomes. We believe COVID-19 has created an even stronger awareness of the high level of quality care we provide. As the population ages, the demand for our level of quality care isn’t going away, and we will be there to meet that need.