Panel Discussion to Tackle LTPAC Health IT Adoption Barriers

Long-term and post acute care (LTPAC) providers are absolutely crucial in helping the healthcare system transition away from a fee-for-service business model to a pay-for-performance model. However, some LTPAC providers, particularly smaller, stand-alone and rural providers, lack the financial incentives and health IT infrastructure to help their acute care counterparts.

“Emerging Business Drivers, Models, and Opportunities in LTPAC,” presented this Monday at AHIMA’s LTPAC Health IT Summit, will provide insight into the business drivers behind healthcare payment reforms and hopefully shed light on barriers to a better integrated system. As the healthcare system moves to delivery models such as accountable care organizations, medical homes, and bundled payments, hospitals are increasingly looking to LTPAC providers with solid data showing that they are viable healthcare partners.

The panel discussion will be moderated by Majd Alwan, PhD, senior vice president of technology for LeadingAge (a 501c3 not for profit organization representing nonprofit long-term care providers) and executive director of LeadingAge’s Center for Aging Services Technologies (CAST). Also on the panel will be Mimi Toomey, director, Office on Policy, Analysis and Development at the Administration for Community Living; Joanne Powell, NHA, RHIT, RAC-CT, director of reimbursement strategy and the Good Samaritan Society; and Ryan Frederick, principal, Point Forward Solutions.

LTPAC providers were exempt from the “meaningful use” EHR Incentive Program and frequently operate on much thinner financial margins than hospitals and physician offices, so funding for health IT initiatives—such as electronic health records (EHRs) and infrastructure—is much more difficult for them.

Alwan tells the Journal of AHIMA that the number one barrier to health IT adoption in LTPAC facilities is the high number of small standalone unaffiliated facilities, particularly those in rural settings.

“For example, in urban settings, even if you are standalone, smaller provider, there’s sufficient volume that warrants and helps you recognize internal efficiencies to justify employing an EHR. In rural settings, there is not just less resources, but also less opportunities in terms of business volume, or partnerships with hospitals” to warrant to implementing EHRs capable of exchanging patient information, Alwan says.

And while CAST surveys of member providers find that more organizations at the corporate level are adopting EHRs, it’s hard to know the adoption rate at the individual nursing home level, or how effectively these tools are being used since quality reporting isn’t required. “But they [LTPAC providers] need to understand that they need to be tracking their own readmission rate for certain conditions and need to understand the pinpoints of their trading partners,” Alwan says. “Where are they failing and where can they contribute? And you cannot do that effectively and efficiently if you don’t have the IT infrastructure in place.”

Last week CAST released updated versions of three resources LTPAC providers can use to select and evaluate telehealth products. Click here for links to these updated products.


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