HELP WHERE HOSPITALS NEED IT ®
HELP WHERE HOSPITALS NEED IT ®
Community Hospital Blog
by Derek Murzyn, Market CEO, Carolinas ContinueCARE Hospitals
A healthy culture, local relationships, and specialty services are a winning combination for Carolinas ContinueCARE Hospitals. These distinctions are the foundation for long-term acute care hospital (LTACH) success for us locally and can help other facilities as well. LTACHs support community hospitals by extending the continuum of care, reducing acute care length of stay, and providing the best possible setting for fragile patients with complex medical needs.
LTACHs bridge the gap to recovery for patients often following an ICU or traditional acute care hospital stay. After admission to one of our LTACHs, teams of highly skilled doctors, nurses, pharmacists, therapists, and dietitians collaborate to develop and implement a customized medical and therapeutic recovery plan for each patient.
The patient is our primary focus every day at our three LTACHs in North Carolina, which include: Carolinas ContinueCARE Hospital at Kings Mountain; and two facilities in Charlotte, Carolinas ContinueCARE Hospital at Pineville and Carolinas ContinueCARE Hospital at University.
Thanks to a strong partnership with our host hospitals within the Carolinas Healthcare System as well as specialty physicians, we’re able to provide care continuity and leverage best practices for the benefit of patients.
In my leadership role, I’ve discovered that educating the medical community is paramount for an LTACH to be successful locally. Referring providers must understand the LTACH service offering and have confidence in us in order to make that referral. It’s invaluable that we share and communicate that LTACHs offer 24/7 acute care physician coverage, the availability of invasive monitoring and medical support devices, the provision of intensive and complex medical treatment, as well as our patient outcomes. Education can range from informal elevator discussions to documented communication and presentations to medical staff section meetings. We must always be flexible to the needs of our community and our host hospital in our communication and education.
Community and family education are also important. The general public may not be aware that an LTACH is not a nursing home, skilled nursing facility or hospice. We strive to change these common misperceptions by communicating our unique services and interdisciplinary care approach—always focused on the patient. As example of our inclusive culture, we invite family member participation in patient treatment planning.
We’ll continue to highlight what our LTACHs do and the services they provide — including the fact that, one-third of our LTACH patients return home. That’s a result worth sharing. And our devotion to quality is transparent and supported by key metrics documented in reports to various healthcare agencies. In April 2017, Carolinas ContinueCARE Hospital at Pineville was awarded three-year accreditation by the Center for Improvement in Healthcare Quality (CIHQ) with designation as a CIHQ Center of Excellence in long-term acute care. This achievement reflects the organization’s commitment to providing the highest level of quality healthcare to the community.
Above all else, we continue to foster a culture of caring; without it, nothing else matters.
by April Myers, SVP Post-Acute Operations
It’s gratifying to see first-hand how patients with critical and complex needs improve—thanks to long-term acute care hospitals or LTACHs.
And now, since the Moratorium restricting LTACHs officially ended on September 30, 2017, more patients will have greater availability to be cared for in the specialized care setting of an LTACH. With the Moratorium sunset, LTACH growth opportunities are expected to blossom.
Patient success stories abound. One example shared with me about a patient at one of CHC’s 11 LTACHs is particularly memorable. A gentleman in his 40s experienced a fall at home. Arriving at the Emergency Department, he was placed on a ventilator and spent several days in the ICU; his prognosis was guarded. Subsequently, he was transferred to a CHC LTACH, weaned off the ventilator, and returned home with support from home health care services. Later, accompanied by family members, he returned to personally thank caregivers for the care he received.
Approximately 437 Medicare-certified LTACHs exist across the country, operating as a hospital within a hospital, a hospital satellite, or as a freestanding model. But over the past several years, new rules and qualifiers for admission have been imposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
At CHC, we advocate on behalf of LTACHs and the ability to serve LTACH patients, many of whom are on ventilators, have gone through a great deal of trauma, and need extended hospitalization beyond a short-term acute-care hospital stay.
Our unique model and multidisciplinary approach to care for optimal recovery—all customized to the individual patient and with family input—supports the LTACH as an essential component of the patient care continuum.
Fully-integrated LTACHs not only extend the continuum of care, hospitals and healthcare organizations benefit through cross-utilization of services and resources.
As part of its Post-Acute Care services, CHC currently owns 11 LTACHs in the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky and Texas. Read more about CHC’s approach to long-term LTACH success.
Many New Year's resolutions fail not due to lack of resolve but to lack of resources. Many hospitals fall on hard times for the same reason, but help is at hand if hospital leaders know where to reach.
On the brink of closure in 2013, a long-term acute care hospital (LTACH) in rural Kentucky tapped CHC’s resources and in 12 months made a complete turnaround. Under CHC ContinueCARE’s unique ownership model, the LTACH reopened as ContinueCARE Hospital at Baptist Health Corbin and is now regarded as an LTACH industry leader. The model allows host hospitals to receive financial distributions from their LTACHs via a not-for-profit operating company.
CHC’s turnaround strategists help ailing LTACHs like Corbin’s as well as traditional acute care facilities when financial and performance problems become dire. Our turnaround services go deeper than a traditional operational assessment designed for hospitals that are struggling but not yet sinking, and they involve much more than cutting costs — for example, revisting marketing and referral development efforts in the case of ContinueCARE Hospital at Baptist Health Corbin.
The entire turnaround process for any given hospital typically takes 12 to 24 months to see full benefits, but that time prepares the hospital to be a community resource for years to come. At its completion, CHC can stand by you to make sure things go as planned through continued consulting services, a management contract or an ownership model. Or we can equip you with tools and strategies to succeed confidently on your own.
Read about CHC's turnaround programs, including signs that your hospital may be a candidate.
Moving Long Term Acute Care Hospitals Forward
In today’s environment, long-term acute care hospitals, or LTACHs, offer an effective operational model that provides quality care while reducing the cost of lengthy hospital stays in acute care environments.
Implementing Community Hospital Corporation's strategy for LTACH success, CHC and Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics, Tyler, Texas, created a joint venture known as Tyler ContinueCARE Hospital. The hospital-within-a-hospital model allows the host hospital to manage patient length-of-stay; opens ICU beds sooner; offers transition to the appropriate care setting; and provides the host hospital potential distributions of excess cash flow generated by the LTACH.
Read the case study for more.
Learn more about developing a long-term acute care strategy in this Becker’s Hospital Review Executive Brief, “9 Considerations for Developing a Long-Term Acute-Care Hospital.”
First, assess market need. Second, assess the opportunity.
There is renewed interest in the benefits of LTACHs, especially since the sunset of a federal moratorium limiting new LTACHs and beds.
CHC helps hospitals evaluate their LTACH strategy and move LTACH operations and finances forward for competitive advantage. Often, we begin together with a comprehensive assessment, which identifies market need for LTACH services as well as organizational strengths and vulnerabilities.
CHC offers distinction – through our post-acute care organization, CHC ContinueCARE LLC, we offer a unique ownership model that provides:
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