Monday, February 29, 2016

Positioning for the Future of Community-based Palliative Care

“Community-based Palliative Care” is the new catchphrase in hospice and palliative care, causing many hospice and homecare providers to contemplate their related strategy. What’s clear is that this is not community-based care, as we’ve known it. Many of the new community-based models represent a paradigm shift in new ways to partner with payers and ACOs, develop reimbursement models away from fee for service billing, and identify novel means to grow their core hospice and palliative care businesses.

These evolving advanced illness management programs offer new ways to leverage hospice expertise. Early evidence points to significant improvements in cost and quality, while better meeting patient and families’ needs. Programs using population health strategies are putting in place a much-needed continuum of care for persons at risk for unwanted and medically unnecessary care. 

Community-based palliative care providers reduce the provision of non-beneficial care by proactively establishing goals of care conversations and improving patient and caregiver understanding of treatment options during the last years and months of life. Doing so is a win for both payers and patients alike. Some programs use predictive analytics to identify the “sickest of the sick”, thereby focusing care where it is needed the most and producing the greatest return on investment.

These new population health community-based approaches require hospice executives to develop new skill sets and a change in thinking about business development and strategic partnerships. This new skill set includes learning how to work with payers or ACOs, understanding the critical use of data for proactive patient selection; using risk stratification methods to guide care management strategies; and measuring clinical and financial outcomes to illustrate quality of care and return on investment.

Hospices choosing to sit on the sidelines that lack a strategy for dealing with these changes will be left behind. As NHPCO’s President and CEO Don Schumacher recently stated during a NHPCO Chat on the topic of community-based palliative care “A firmly developed continuum of services is exactly the kind of thing that every hospice should be moving themselves towards. Don’t wait… Be the resource in your community who people turn to for this.”

On April 20, we are hosting the 2nd Annual Business Summit where you will have an opportunity to hear firsthand what payers and ACOs are looking for in their community-based partners and the metrics that matter to them the most. I believe this summit will be a valuable resource for hospice executives looking to build a community-based program as an extension of their current service lines. If you plan to attend NHPCO's Management and Leadership Conference, this is one event that you won’t want to miss! Please note, registration is required for the 2nd Annual Business Summit.

Terri Maxwell PhD, APRN
Chief Operating Officer
Turn-Key Health


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