Henry Ford Health System has worked with CarePort’s transition-of-care platform for over a year, but over the past several months as the system received a surge of COVID-19 patients, the platform has allowed the Michigan-based health system to prioritize patient and staff safety.
CarePort offers a care coordination platform where patients can be identified, tracked and managed across the continuum.
Through its partnership with CarePort, Henry Ford is able to communicate directly with post-acute care providers to share the COVID-19 testing status of patients. This allows the providers to take the necessary safety precautions, including deciding if the facility can admit the patient at all, triaging care and managing the use of personal protective equipment.
“It really helped optimize the care and helped expedite that patients transition from the hospital to the skilled nursing facility,” said Gloria Rey, the post-acute care director for the Henry Ford Health System.
From there, post-acute care providers could update their bed availability daily and indicate their willingness and ability to accept COVID-19 patients within the CarePort platform.
“This really allowed the case managers to be able to try and filter their efforts to those facilities to be able to care for the patients,” Rey said. “I think it really impacted the patients as well because they were able to see and had control over where they were going.”
The platform allowed for increased communication and therefore better care decisions, according to Susan Craft, vice president of inpatient case management and post-acute care services at Henry Ford Health System.
“Given the unprecedented nature of this crisis, communication between our hospitals and skilled nursing and inpatient rehab facilities was critical to ensure the safety of patients as well as the staff at the receiving facilities,” Craft said by statement. “This technology allowed us to provide information in real-time to our community partners so they would be prepared for patients upon their arrival.”
WHY THIS MATTERS
Once a patients’ condition improves enough to be discharged from the hospital, they are sometimes sent to a post-acute care facility to fully recover. These facilities offer rehabilitative care for patients as they regain the ability to feed, go to the toilet, dress and bathe themselves.
A surge in patients at hospitals also means a surge for rehabilitation centers and many are not equipped to handle that, according to a report from the JAMA Network.
“However, post-acute care facilities currently lack the capacity and capability to safely treat patients with COVID-19 as they transition from the hospital to other care settings or to their homes,” the report says.
In fact, occupancy rates at skilled nursing facilities nationwide average 85%, “signaling that current capacity is inadequate for any surge,” according to the report.
By using a service like CarePort, Henry Ford and the post-acute care centers near it were able to collaborate to place patients in the appropriate setting.
“By working in close collaboration with Henry Ford hospitals, we feel well-prepared to care for the patients transitioning from the hospital to our facility,” said Joe Carpino, the senior administrator of the Heartland-Danto Health Care Center, in a statement. “Through CarePort we’ve gained complete visibility into a patient’s COVID-19 status to help ensure the health and safety of not only our patients – who are most vulnerable during this time – but also our staff.”
THE LARGER TREND
Last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released payment updates for 2021 across several categories, including inpatient rehabilitation facilities and skilled nursing facilities.
For IRFs, CMS upped payments by 2.4% and is increasing aggregate payments by 0.4% to maintain outlier payments at 3% of total payments, resulting in an overall update of 2.8% or $260 million for FY 2021.
CMS projects aggregate payments to skilled nursing facilities will increase by $750 million, or 2.2%, for 2021, compared to 2020.
Across the board, CMS is adopting the most recent Office of Management and Budget statistical area delineations and applies a 5% cap on wage index decreases from 2020 to 2021.
Beyond the pandemic, Henry Ford plans to continue to use CarePort, according to Rey. The system plans to use the platform to coordinate testing requirements across all of the different post-acute care facilities that it works with.
“That’s one of our biggest barriers at this moment and what we plan on doing is working with CarePort for [the facilities] to be able to upload that information right into CarePort Guide and then Allscripts,” she said. “That way, our case managers can see exactly what the needs are for them, so we can meet those needs before a patient is ready for discharge and so that we don’t have any delays in discharge secondary to testing needs.”
ON THE RECORD
“Giving that post-acute care facility as much information as we possibly could to enable them to prepare for that patient and receive them and transition them appropriately ultimately is what increases the care of the patient and that’s what our main goal was,” Rey said.
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