NATIONAL HARBOR, Md.—Hospitalists' growing attention to the "post-acute-care space" is driven in part by high rates of 30-day readmissions for patients who get discharged to skilled nursing facilities (SNF)—1 in 4 Medicare patients, according to government estimates. The rate is 1 in 3 for heart-failure patients.
But post-acute care also is "a great place to change your career trajectory and have an immediate impact on the quality of care," Jerome Wilborn, MD, national medical director for post acute services for IPC The Hospitalist Company, said Sunday at HM13.
Dr. Wilborn made that transition and now is part of an IPC medical group in Ann Arbor, Mich., that works with 85 long-term-care facilities. “A lot of our post-acute providers do very well on professional billing,” he noted.
Hospitalists may be able to divide their practices between the acute and post-acute worlds, especially for facilities in close proximity. However, Dr. Wilborn noted that IPC prefers dedicated post-acute providers.
Hospitalists entering the post-acute world need to understand that these patients generally are very sick, although without access to the plethora of medical monitoring equipment that hospitalists take for granted. And sick patients need in-person medical attention, Dr. Wilborn said. Another key to success is regular, scheduled presence to develop institutional bonding with the facility, its staff and its culture. IPC physicians, especially if they take on the role of facility medical director, are expected to visit the facility at least three times a week.
SHM established a post-acute care task force and is surveying its members on their involvement and interest in this realm. For information or to participate in the survey, email SHM senior vice president Joseph Miller.