The ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created many challenges for long-term post-acute care (LTPAC) providers. One of the most pressing is ensuring timely and safe (i.e., low-risk for infection) visits between practitioners and patients. Increasingly, telehealth – i.e., the delivery of health-related services and information via electronic information and telecommunications technology – is being used as a primary means to achieve this. In part, this has occurred due to recent regulatory changes that expanded telehealth’s role in caring for Medicare patients across the health care continuum.
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.
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?
For owners of home health and hospice organizations of all sizes and scopes, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has caused financial and operational disruptions that to this day leave many operators facing dire prospects.
The services your home health or hospice organization provides are vital to the health and well-being of patients. Yet, to continue delivering services, you must remain financially and operationally viable, today and tomorrow. COVID-19 has made that unusually difficult, particularly for home health agencies, since many skilled staff aren’t able to conduct site visits, for a number of reasons. The primary consequences of this are:
- Home health agencies are now struggling to meet their low utilization payment adjustment (LUPA) thresholds as per physician orders;
- Revenues are down and could continue to be so long as site visits aren’t being conducted; and
- Agencies could be risking the loss of recertifications or new admissions they otherwise could receive under “normal” (i.e., non-COVID-19) circumstances.
In “normal” times, your skilled nursing facility staff should be taking all necessary steps to prevent and control infections throughout the facility. As the current COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, it’s safe to say these are anything but normal times.
Fortunately, skilled nursing facilities here in the U.S. up to now haven’t had to deal with major outbreaks beyond seasonal flu. Unfortunately, that has partly caused too many skilled nursing and senior care organizations to overlook basic steps that help prevent and control infections throughout a facility.
Like all providers in the healthcare arena, long-term post-acute care (LTPAC) organizations have been engulfed in a whirlwind of dramatic change by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic . This crisis not only presents enormous clinical challenges for LTPACs, but myriad financial impacts threaten many facilities’ very existence.
Federal relief was sorely needed – quickly – and on March 27, it arrived via the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) which was signed into law by President Trump. The CARES Act offers healthcare providers – LTPACs included – an array of relief measures designed to ease financial and regulatory burdens associated with this crisis.