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New Data from CarePort®, Powered by WellSky® Highlights Staffing, Referral Rejection Rates, and Increasing Length of Stay as Top Challenges for Post-Acute Care Delivery

CarePort’s Evolution of Care report examines data from more than 1,000 hospitals and 130,000 post-acute care providers to reveal the pandemic’s lasting impacts on healthcare delivery

BOSTON – MAY 19, 2022

CarePort, powered by WellSky, a market leader in care transitions, today released its Evolution of Care report. The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way care is delivered in the U.S. To better understand these changes, CarePort analyzed proprietary data from its care coordination platform used by more than 1,000 hospitals and 130,000 post-acute care providers. CarePort’s analysis of the data found that:

Patients Discharged from Hospitals Are Higher Acuity, More Complex

The need for greater coordination across care settings is critical as higher-acuity patients are discharged from hospitals. CarePort data shows that in aggregate the average patient discharged to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and home health care is now more acute than in 2019, resulting in an 11% increase in average comorbidity score. Common comorbidities include congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), hypertension, neurological disorders, diabetes, and obesity, among other conditions.

“On average, higher acuity patients have a greater need for services post-discharge, adding increased complexity to getting that patient the care they need,” said Lissy Hu, M.D., CarePort, powered by WellSky CEO and founder. “Giving providers the visibility and insight needed to provide the appropriate level of care post-discharge is critical to ensuring the best possible outcome.”

Staffing, Referral Rejections, and Increasing Length of Stay Are Top Challenges

Staffing challenges are negatively impacting the patient discharge process. CarePort found a 33% increase in referrals sent per patient to home health, but a 15% reduction in home health acceptance. Once a home health placement is secured, timeliness of start of care – a critical measurement to ensuring optimal patient outcomes – are often delayed. In studying CarePort data, the risk of a hospital readmission rises 3% each day a patient is not seen by a home health provider post-discharge.

SNFs are encountering similar problems and are declining referrals an average of 10% more often than in 2019. Total staffing hours in SNFs continue to decrease; the total nurse hours per resident per day decreased by 37 hours between April 2020 and April 2021.

As a result of these staffing limitations, patients may be required to prolong their time in the hospital. The average hospital length of stay for patients in the CarePort network being referred to SNFs has increased by 10% since 2019, with an 8% increase for home health referrals.

“The industry must continue to solve for current challenges and usher in a new era of healthcare – one that is connected, collaborative, and focused on achieving the best possible outcomes,” said Hu. “Care coordination will play an important role by making providers aware of the availability and quality of services so patient needs can be met in a timely manner, without adding additional administrative burdens.”

 Patients Prefer Receiving Post-Acute Care at Home

While consumer interest in home-based care has been growing for many years, COVID-19 accelerated this shift. Patients and their families are increasingly opting to receive care in the home instead of institutional care settings, such as nursing homes and SNFs. In March 2021, CarePort saw home health referrals reach 116% of 2019 totals and comprised 60% of patient referrals, while SNF referrals accounted for the other 40%. As of September 2021, home health referrals remained at least 10% above the 2019 baseline, demonstrating that the need to carefully coordinate patient care in the home will continue to be important.

 For more details on these findings, download the complete Evolution of Care report.

About CarePort, powered by WellSky®

CarePort is the leading care coordination network with thousands of providers connected across the U.S. The end-to-end platform bridges acute and post-acute EHR data, providing visibility into the entire patient journey for providers, physicians, payers, and ACOs. With CarePort, healthcare professionals can efficiently and effectively coordinate patient care to better manage patients as they move through the continuum. CarePort helps providers meet and comply with the patient event notification Condition of Participation as part of the CMS Interoperability and Patient Access final rule and the IMPACT Act. Read more about CarePort on careporthealth.comTwitter, and LinkedIn.


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