Top Challenges Facing Nonprofit Skilled Nursing Facilities

Nonprofit skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) are undergoing a complete paradigm shift. New reimbursement models, an aging population and changes mandated under the Affordable Care Act have placed tremendous pressure on SNFs. The changing healthcare landscape will require nonprofit SNFs to deliver better outcomes, lower costs and more appropriate access to care. Evolving to these new standards is challenging, so in order to keep their doors open, nonprofit SNFs will need to:

Move toward a model of consumer-driven healthcare. As consumers become more responsible for paying for their own healthcare, healthcare-related decisions will be increasingly influenced by how much a service costs and what value it provides to the patient. To help patients, their families and caregivers compare nursing facilities more easily, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) created the Five Star Quality Rating System. The system gives each nursing facility a quality rating between one and five stars, with five being the highest, based on specific quality measures including staffing patterns and specific quality measures. The system represents a clear shift toward a model that recognizes that more consumers are beginning to shop for the best value.

To account for this, nonprofit SNFs will need to engage with patients in new ways, proactively identifying solutions to problems or issues that they may face. Innovative strategies such as cost-sharing programs and new technologies that enable patients to interact with healthcare providers and access their healthcare information are at the forefront as the focus on service and overall customer experience brings enormous change to the SNF industry.

Develop new and more efficient operating models. To succeed in this new environment, nonprofit SNFs will need to develop strategies that will enable them to transform the way care is delivered. They must focus on day-to-day operations to realize gains associated with short-term cost savings opportunities and performance improvements, while also ensuring that their cost structure and operational infrastructure are aligned with their long-term vision.

SNFs will need to improve their data and IT infrastructure. Leveraging analytics, SNFs can develop adaptive and interactive technology platforms to detect care gaps, manage costs, anticipate and measure consumer needs and expectations and better manage chronic illness and end-of-life care.

Measure outcomes to inform future practices. Successful nonprofit SNFs of tomorrow will not look like those of today. Nonprofit SNFs need to identify the sources of poor care and establish improvement goals and measures in order to work toward continuous improvements. Additionally, they must determine their future care models now and begin developing the infrastructure and capabilities required to navigate toward their future state.

What is your organization doing to meet these challenges?