Ask any revenue cycle professional in the long-term post-acute care (LTPAC) realm how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted their organization’s revenue, and you’ll likely get exasperated looks, and very similar answers. The pandemic – unprecedented in our time – has caused financial and operational disruptions – and particularly cash flow problems – that have put many operators in dire straits.
Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), senior care facilities and long-term care facilities come in all shapes and sizes, but they all have a common goal: optimizing resident care and enhancing outcomes. Achieving this is no easy feat—it takes skill, planning, foresight and execution in many areas, including revenue cycle management, accounting and finance, Medicare compliance, EHR implementation and ongoing usage and more.
As part of a long-term post-acute care (LTPAC) facility’s regular risk assessment, leadership and staff should collaboratively develop written emergency preparedness plans to prepare for and respond to an array of disasters and crises—including epidemics and/or pandemics.
Enter the coronavirus (COVID-19), which has rocked the LTPAC landscape during 2020. While its effects are wide-ranging and profound, COVID-19 has exposed a particularly glaring hole in many facilities’ disaster preparedness plans: personal protective equipment (PPE).
The year 2020 has undoubtedly put coronavirus (COVID-19) in the spotlight. We are quarantining, self-isolating and wearing facemasks when we venture out in public. COVID-19 is already proven to be the deadliest virus humans have encountered since the H1N1 influenza pandemic of 1918. Accordingly, medical and public health professionals have focused considerable efforts and directed resources toward managing its spread.
That said, COVID-19 is only one of many viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungi that could cause an epidemic or pandemic. With the high number of patients who are currently being treated in our hospitals and the overwhelming lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), we could see a marked increase in any one of these—or in multiple human pathogens.
PointClickCare® is a powerful tool to help optimize care and drive positive business outcomes for organizations across the long-term post-acute care (LTPAC) spectrum. Yet while PointClickCare is unquestionably one of the LTPAC industry’s most popular and successful electronic health record (EHR) implementation platforms, it is vastly underutilized by many of the LTPAC organizations that rely on it every day.
Why is that? Well, several factors could be responsible. For one, users may not be fully trained on the full PointClickCare experience, or in using various modules. Turnover may also account for underutilization, and certainly, time is a factor, since LTPAC professionals are busy all day, every day. Sometimes, training just takes a back seat to other priorities.
The Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM) was launched on Oct. 1, 2019, so as of this writing, observers have had ample time to see how it is taking shape. Thus far, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has determined that PDPM has not been budget-neutral compared to the last model, as it was intended to be. PDPM is part of the larger, industry-wide shift toward value-based payment systems that reward providers for delivering high-quality care for people in need. While PDPM now requires more tracking and reporting for long-term care (LTC) providers and skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), particularly in terms of ICD-10 coding, the ultimate goal is providing better patient care.
As long-term post-acute care (LTPAC) organizations continue to navigate the ever-changing coronavirus (COVID-19) landscape, the clinical challenges they face are readily apparent. Less publicized, however – yet highly consequential – are the financial impacts of this crisis on LTPAC facilities of every size and scope.
In only a few short months, COVID-19 has put many LTPACs in untenable financial positions as they scramble to meet myriad obligations and ensure adequate cash flow.
The crisis is far from over, and with so much uncertainty, the full scale of its financial impacts may not be fully understood for months—possibly even years. Beyond obvious steps like eliminating nonessential costs, what measures can LTPAC CFOs and controllers take now to promote financial stability as this unprecedented crisis unfolds?