Healthcare Leaders Eager to Explore Partnerships with Post-Acute Care Providers but May Face Challenges Last Updated: December 13, 2016
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Premier Inc. releases guide with decision-making resources to establish effective, cross-continuum partnerships  

CHARLOTTE, N.C. —While 85 percent of health system leaders are interested in creating or expanding partnerships with preferred and local post-acute care providers, 9 out of 10 report they may experience challenges in creating these partnerships, according to a Premier Inc. (NASDAQ:PINC) survey.

The survey findings highlight both the impetus for health systems to enlist post-acute care partners, and the need for guidance as they navigate how to optimize these partnerships to ensure patients receive optimal care.

With a direct link in post-acute care variation and overall health system performance under evolving payment models, it is imperative for providers to effectively coordinate care across the continuum – especially those engaged in alternative payment models, such as accountable care organizations (ACOs) or bundled payment programs. Premier has released a guide for health systems that discusses how to effectively use new tools, data, case studies and other resources to improve the post-acute network development process, and replicate and scale successful strategies.

“Determining how much or what type of post-acute care is appropriate has always been a challenge, given the lack of data on post-acute outcomes and costs,” said Andy Edeburn, a population health advisor at Premier. “The acceleration in value-based arrangements demands increased integration across the continuum as health systems become more accountable for the performance of post-acute care providers. Improved data and evidence-based thinking are driving different approaches to post-acute provider engagement. We’re working with health system leaders to create these partnerships and guide them toward shared goals around better, smarter and more efficient care.”

Traditionally, hospitals have had loose or informal referral relationships with post-acute care providers, and there have been limited standards to help clinicians determine the best settings for this type of care. Faced with limited oversight in the past, significant variation among post-acute providers exists in the quality and costs of care, and the characteristics unique to each community fosters an environment where care may be duplicative, unnecessary or misused.

One study found top post-acute care performers had an average Medicare length-of-stay of less than 24 days, while lower tier performers reported more than 34 days — a quality differential that adds up to about $4,000 per admission. To succeed in alternative payment models, health systems will need to consistently rely on a network of post-acute care providers acting as an extension of them by collaborating on shared goals and metrics.

“The transition period after a major hospital procedure represents a critical time that can mean the difference between a full recovery and an adverse event,” said Donna Sabol, RN, MSN, CPHQ, vice president and chief quality officer at St. Luke’s University Health Network. “In effect, post-acute care is now a critical extension of a health system’s care delivery model, with implications for the system’s reputation and financial viability.”

Premier’s guide to creating effective post-acute care networks serves as a roadmap to help healthcare leaders navigate the necessary steps, including establishing an organizational infrastructure to support these partnerships and identifying top-performers through cost and quality data.

The shared learnings and best practices, as highlighted in the guide, were gleaned from Premier’s Bundled Payment Collaborative, where nearly 50 health systems encompassing 125 facilities collaborate to develop and implement strategies to succeed in using bundled payment arrangements in both public and private markets.

About the Economic Outlook survey

Premier’s Economic Outlook survey highlights emerging economic and industry trends impacting health systems. C-suite respondents to the most recent survey, which was conducted online in summer 2016, represent 52 health system executives across the U.S.

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About Premier Inc.

Premier Inc. (NASDAQ: PINC) is a leading healthcare improvement company, uniting an alliance of approximately 3,750 U.S. hospitals and more than 130,000 other provider organizations. With integrated data and analytics, collaboratives, supply chain solutions, and advisory and other services, Premier enables better care and outcomes at a lower cost. Premier, a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient, plays a critical role in the rapidly evolving healthcare industry, collaborating with members to co-develop long-term innovations that reinvent and improve the way care is delivered to patients nationwide. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Premier is passionate about transforming American healthcare. Please visit Premier’s news and investor sites on; as well as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and Premier’s blog for more information about the company.


Kate Enos,   |   |   202.879.4105