Quality patient care for the win!

As a skilled nursing provider your ideal is to have several assisted living partners. The reason this relationship is important is because assisted living (AL) communities have an average hospitalization rate of between 2 and 10 percent a month.  

When those residents go to the hospital they will often need a place to get their short-term rehab, who do they turn to? Having a great relationship with an AL will make your skilled nursing community the place where they send their short-term rehab patients.

The partnership benefits the assisted living community because 50 percent of their residents come from skilled nursing communities so you can also provide residents for them. Additionally once the hospital’s discharge planners know about your partnerships with specific assisted living communities they will get in the habit of sending you all the patients from your AL partners. To interest an assisted living in forming a partnership with you is simple – you explain to them you will help them fill their buildings and maintain their census. Here are three strategies to being the place ALs want to partner with:

Strategy 1: Send your residents back to their home assisted living community fast.

Most families will give up the assisted living suite if they think the patient will be in skilled more than 30 days. A promise that you’ll work hard to send their patients back to them within that 30-day window will give you a competitive edge.

The key to creating a successful partnership with an AL is that you become the most aggressive rehab center in the area by keeping your average length of stay under 30 days.

You should also provide the assisted living staff with clear orders and a precise understanding of the level of care. Medication orders should be sent to them in advance. If at all possible the assisted living community should do a patient assessment with the nurse that took care of them in your skilled nursing community.

Strategy 2: Provide therapy in assisted living

About 25 percent of all assisted living residents should be on therapy at any given time and over the course of time all of the residents will be on outpatient therapy in the assisted living community. If you are providing outpatient therapy in the assisted living when they need inpatient rehab they’re going to choose you because they’re going to want to have the same therapy group that they had a positive experience with.  

Another benefit of providing therapy in your partner assisted living communities is that when you are involved in risk sharing your bonuses, it will be based on the total healthcare dollars spent on those patients. So if you continue to provide therapy to residents in the assisted living you might keep them from breaking their hip or having another issue that would result in their being admitted to the hospital.

Strategy 3: Have your physician’s make transitional care visits to your patients in ALs

I mentioned earlier that your practitioner partners should be making transitional care visits. Even if patients have their own physician your practitioner partner should be providing the 30-day transitional care management. If you send a practitioner to an assisted community this may help you start a partnership with that community and maybe even have your physician practice become their partner too.


So now you know the secret to dramatically enhancing your profitability, performance, and patient care. In a word – it’s partnerships. I think you can see that only by working together can we deliver the care our patients require and deserve and can we achieve the success and profitability we desire. In this industry we don’t have to choose between giving the best care possible and making a profit. In fact, we must do the right thing to prosper. And I believe by working together we can all do just that. 

Part 1:  
Skilled Nursing – Who Are Your Partners?
Part 2:
Are Your Skilled Nursing Physicians Partners or Leaches?
Part 3: 
Radical Therapy Partnerships
Part 4:
Playing the Skilled Nursing Drug Game to Win
Part 5:
Using Hospice to Extend Resident Lives
Part 6:
Assisted Living is Not the Enemy of Skilled Nursing