WASHINGTON, Dec. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In releasing its new "Three Pillars of Post Acute Reform" policy outline during a media conference call today, the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care (AQNHC) said patient need must drive Medicare payment system reforms, payment systems themselves must be more closely tied to comparative quality performance, and that ongoing payments to nursing home providers must remain adequate to sustain the provision of high quality care to an increasingly older, growing post-acute care population. Nursing homes, referred to technically as Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs), are America's second largest health facility provider.
Specifically, the Alliance says the three key principles for driving post-acute reform in 2013 are:
I. Patient need MUST drive payment system reforms for post-acute care -- We must place patients in the forefront by aligning patient characteristics and care needs with integrated post-acute payment and delivery systems. Meeting the health needs of beneficiaries should encourage care in the best clinical setting appropriate to patient needs.
II. Payment systems MUST be more closely tied to comparative quality performance -- System reforms increasingly must differentiate payments to providers based on comparative quality outcomes. Until providers are financially responsible for results based on valid quality metrics, effort to both improve quality and reduce costs will be systematically undermined.
III. Payment MUST be adequate to give providers the resources necessary to meet growing patient needs and sustain the delivery of high quality care -- The Alliance supports initiatives and payment reforms that provide reasonable and adequate payment to providers so that the needs of an increasingly frail and chronically ill population, as well as a growing post-acute population, will continue to be met.
"As we careen to the end of another chaotic year, 2013 must be the year when we finally break the zero-sum status quo that hurts patients and providers, is devoid of accountability to the U.S. taxpayer, and which jeopardizes the ongoing health and well-being of millions of Medicare beneficiaries," stated Alan G. Rosenbloom, President of the Alliance. Noting the U.S. SNF sector is facing $65 billion in cumulative Medicare funding reductions over the next ten years as a result of budget and regulatory changes since 2009, Rosenbloom stressed the urgency of putting in place "a transformative post acute care policy model."
Dan Mendelson, President of Avalere, an independent health policy advisory firm, noted the Affordable Care Act (ACA) set in motion a range of demonstrations and other policy focused on paying for quality in healthcare. "Moving forward, these are the most important area of focus for post-acute care – especially in cases when the full continuum of care is considered," he said. "Quality in nursing home care can only be rationally considered in light of the patient experience – which often includes discharge from an acute care facility, and return to the home."
Full Three Pillars of Post Acute Reform PDF Document Available at www.aqnhc.org
The Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care (AQNHC), a coalition of 10 leading post-acute and long term care organizations providing Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) care in approximately 1,400 facilities, in 44 states nationwide.
SOURCE Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care