The Pain Points
All over the country, nursing homes lack staff. Because of the staffing shortages, the facilities cannot admit an optimal number of residents. Potential residents often remain in hospitals, creating a backlog of patients and billions of dollars in losses for the health systems.
In the News
This build-up of problems has garnered attention from the media. In recent weeks:
- “Hospitals Have Too Many Patients” trended on LinkedIn. Associated with the trend was an Axios article about health care officials asking Congress to help providers cover more costs associated with this backlog.
- Health Dimensions Group contributed to a McKnight’s Long-Term Care News article on this topic.
- Also, at the heart of the discussion is HEALTHCAREDIVE’s review of Kaufman Hall data.
Hospitals having too many patients causes a variety of health care continuum challenges, from patient access issues, especially for emergency care—as demonstrated in this letter from the College of Emergency Physicians to President Biden—to financial pressures and throughput issues, all stemming from decreased revenue from fewer new patients and the costs of unnecessary hospital days.
Length of Stay
These capacity issues can be tied to significant increases in hospitals’ average lengths of stay, as seen in this article from Fierce Healthcare. Delays in access to post-acute care often cause these increases in lengths of stay. Staffing-related post-acute occupancy limits largely drive the inability to discharge patients to post-acute care settings.
The Struggle to Recruit
With their futures on the line, post-acute and long-term care providers are working each day to increase post-acute bed access while balancing the need for staff to provide quality care and services. Tough labor markets, low reimbursement rates for increased wages, and the complexities of working in these care settings cause significant challenges in recruiting and retaining workers. While other health care settings have seen some workforce recovery, nursing homes are still down 10% from pre-pandemic levels.
For post-acute care to be a critical part of the solution, providers need adequate funding and support. Additional funding and support will allow them to increase capacity in their settings, thus allowing for increased patient flow from hospitals, reducing both the capacity and financial challenges of the hospitals.
In the short term, this can be achieved through:
- Emergency funding from Medicare
- State Medicaid programs
- Hospital and health system resource sharing and partnerships
And in the long term, health care professionals must create a reimbursement and regulatory environment where post-acute care and senior care providers can survive.
HDG Can Help
Health Dimensions Group (HDG) has experts who can help you explore developing a post-acute partnership in your area. Our experienced consultants provide essential guidance for creating partnerships that result in improved strategic, operational, and financial outcomes, highlighting each partner’s unique value in the continuum. If you would like to learn more about how HDG can assist you, please contact us at 763.537.5700 or email@example.com and visit our website.