The sheer size of the baby boomer generation has caused tremendous shifts in cultural paradigms over the last six decades, and boomers’ impact on the practices of our health care system is no exception. Amid a sea of changing health care laws, the needs of the country’s largest demographic are once again making waves across the health care delivery continuum.
The oldest baby boomers are reaching retirement age at the same time health care reform has taken effect. The result is that hospitals are treating larger numbers of patients while also dealing with new constraints, like financial penalties for readmissions.
And while hospitals and health systems struggle, states are grappling with current budgets, terrified of the likely Medicaid cost explosion to come from an aging population that will need care through home health, assisted living facilities, or nursing homes.
If the challenges of governmentally imposed payment stress weren’t enough, boomers are likely to demand new facilities, unprecedented amenities, and suites of services to help them enjoy their “golden years.”
Oh—and did we mention—the workforce of RNs, LPNs, and caregivers is dwindling and is expected to decline dramatically in the coming years. This will make recruiting and retaining an adequate quality workforce a top strategic priority for many providers.
Adapting to these multifaceted dynamics requires multifaceted benchmarking.
Survival of the Fittest
In light of this tsunami of changes, senior living providers have to be more agile and effective than ever before. New providers, not burdened with historical traditions and perceptions, will enter the market. Some existing providers will adapt and thrive, while other new and existing providers will fail to adapt, becoming “dinosaurs” and perishing.
One critical key to survival it seems lies in expanding benchmarks to include multiple dimensions of performance.
As a senior living or post-acute provider, you must focus on four critical benchmark categories to remain relevant in today’s increasingly crowded marketplace.
- Clinical Quality and Integration
Do you know what clinical quality and capabilities payors and health systems are looking for in their post-acute partners? How important are factors like 24-hour admissions and electronic clinical integration? Are turnover rates a crucial point of reference? Where does facility appearance rate? Identify the factors that matter to your area providers and benchmark them.
- Workplace Culture
Employee engagement is directly tied to both employee retention levels and resident satisfaction. It’s important to benchmark your workplace culture and assess employee commitment on a regular basis.
- Market Position
Where do you stand in your market? It’s important to compare your facility and clinical position to your competitors. You also need to benchmark your health system relationships, market share, and trends in all these areas.
- Operational Effectiveness and Financial Indicators
In spite of the increasing demands, you have to remain diligent in optimizing reimbursement levels and payor mix while controlling staffing levels, compensation, therapy costs, and other expenses. To do so, you need an ongoing process for benchmarking your effectiveness across operations in order to optimize them.
Author: Kim Heller, CPA, Partner