Market Expansion Strategies and Trends: Benefits of LTACH Integration

While they can be a lesser known post-acute setting, long-term acute care hospitals (LTACHs) can provide substantial benefits. From helping to reduce rehospitalizations to providing more specialized care for medically complex patients, LTACHs can be an important part of a hospital’s market expansion strategy and community ecosystem.

This guide contains four key benefits of LTACH integration as part of your hospital’s market expansion strategy based on recent industry research. You will also hear insight from healthcare leaders Dr. Sean Muldoon, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Kindred Hospitals and Michael Warrington, President of Kindred Hospitals.

Dr. Muldoon and Warrington share findings from their work with leading health systems that can help your hospital achieve optimal patient and facility outcomes.

4 Trends Impacting Market Expansion Strategy

1. Increased need for post-acute services

The rapidly growing medically complex patient population consumes a disproportionate amount of acute resources and has a higher-than-average likelihood of hospital admissions and readmissions.

LTACHs are the most effective option for medically complex, COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 patients as their structure enables them to quickly adapt to shifting needs. By integrating long-term acute care into their continuum, hospitals can better serve the expanding needs in their communities.

This integration can also improve patient throughput management. When multiple levels of care are available, hospitals can effectively get patients to the right level of care at the right time, while also expanding capacity.

2. Heightened focus on financial stability

“In addition to providing great care to those who need us most, hospital decision-makers must create the best outcomes for the lowest possible cost,” stated Warrington. “It is imperative for hospital leadership to be provided the key resources needed to best understand the long-term cost and outcome benefits of post-acute services, including LTACHs.”

While medically complex patients make up only a small percentage of the patient population, they can increase total cost of care through readmission risks if they are not treated in the proper setting.

Dr. Muldoon shared that, “As managed care and other value-based reimbursement becomes a bigger part of the equation, it will be even more important to conduct care in a way that makes the most of the limited funds health systems often have available. One of the ways hospitals are able to achieve this is through a strategic partnership.”

3. Rising pressure of consumerization and patient preferences in post-acute care

Not all post-acute providers offer the same level of care, and ultimately the same quality outcomes, for patients with highly-complex clinical needs, as acknowledged by the American Hospital Association. This can be an important differentiator when evaluating care options to support market expansion and best meet patient needs.1

Patient demand calls for receiving care in a setting that demonstrates a high level of patient safety/infection control protocols. LTACHs adhere to more advanced patient safety guidelines than those at lower levels of care, such as skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). Recognizing these differences helps hospitals meet patient preferences as the shift toward consumerization becomes even more prevalent.

LTACHs have unique expertise in addressing patients with multiple comorbidities, making them ideal for medically complex patients. “LTACHs are often overlooked during strategic planning because of lack of awareness and education during residency training, but these hospitals can provide financial benefits while significantly improving outcomes,” stated Warrington.

4. Increase in co-location implementation and hospital flexibility

Incorporating an LTACH into a hospital’s care continuum can take the form of constructing a freestanding facility or establishing a hospital-in-hospital (HiH). Both options are centered on providing patients the specialized care they need in a setting that requires minimal transfer and more seamless care continuity.

“Having an HiH can help a hospital feel more confident in their patients’ care and transitions since they maintain the same physicians, compared to a freestanding where there is a possibility for different medical oversight,” shared Warrington.

“An HiH also creates continuity between physician and specialist oversight of patient care,” stated Dr. Muldoon. “This helps ensure that if a patient requires a higher level of care quickly, they are able to be re-located to another setting onsite without the need for transfer. This enables providers to efficiently and effectively meet changing patient needs and preferences.”

Partnership’s Role In a Hospital’s Market Expansion Strategy

A strategic joint-venture or contract management partnership can help support hospitals so they can quickly adapt to the rapidly changing healthcare environment while simultaneously meeting the latest opportunities, such as market expansion.

To learn how Kindred can help support your market expansion strategies, visit KindredLTACHPartner.com.


Citations

1. Nickels, T. (2020, June 24). AHA Letter on Resetting the IMPACT Act in Next COVID-19 Relief Package: AHA. Retrieved June 29, 2020, from https:// www.aha.org/lettercomment/2020-06-24-aha-letter-resetting-impact-act-next-covid-19-relief-package

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