Integration between hospitals and long-term-care providers spurred the American Hospital Association and the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging to agree to a new collaboration, officials said last week.
The agreement, first reported by MODERN HEALTHCARE, calls for the groups to cooperate more on public policy and quality and information management. Together, the two associations represent about 10,000 hospitals and nursing homes (June 15, p. 4).
In a conference call last week, Jonathon Lord, M.D., the AHA's chief operating officer, and Alan Rosenbloom, the AAHSA's COO, formally announced the two groups had signed a memorandum of understanding for the partnership.
The groups already jointly contract with Abt Associates of Cambridge, Mass., on a project that will give their members a preview of the effects of a Medicare prospective payment system for skilled-nursing services.
That PPS, created by an interim final rule that will be implemented July 1, will cover stand-alone and hospital-owned skilled-nursing facilities (May 11, p. 8).
From a broader perspective, however, the agreement between the two organizations reflects the growing awareness that hospitals and nursing homes must play a greater role in improving the health status of their communities.
That has become especially apparent as the two groups worked side by side on legislation and regulation to encourage the development of provider-sponsored organizations serving Medicare beneficiaries.
PSOs will put providers at risk for the healthcare of enrolled populations, which means the providers that formed the organizations will be responsible for treating their enrollees in the most cost-effective settings, whether hospitals or subacute facilities.
"The linkage of acute care and long-term care is essential to the communities we serve," Lord said. "Care needs to be at the community level, and we need to have a passion around doing what's right for the patients we serve."
Added Rosenbloom: "The trends . . . have created incentives in regional and local markets that are moving our members to a collaborative new world."