Unless you have been living under a rock lately then you are well aware of the advent of Accountable Care Organizations (ACO’s). What you may not be aware of is that the time is NOW to begin positioning yourself.

Positioning myself you may ask, how, where? There are many areas that must be addressed to be a part of the ACO landscape. Length of stay, cost, availability are all pieces of the puzzle that must be put together but the most important is hospital readmissions.

As everyone knows being admitted to the hospital eats up the biggest portion of the healthcare dollar. Knowing what your actual readmission rate is and being able to communicate that to a potential partner is going to be key moving forward.

It is critical that you understand your rate and be able to explain what your readmission rate really says. Depending on the type of patient you have and the level of care your facility provides goes a long way in determining your particular quality scores. You must be able to articulate this to the ACO so that they will have a complete understanding of the type of quality your organization delivers.

Now that you know what your readmission rate is and can explain it you must begin communicating that story to the groups that manage the ACO’s. I would suggest that you begin those conversations by finding out what they consider to be the most important items when they are looking at potential partners.

We have already talked about the importance of readmission rates but there will be other important areas as well. Remember you are just starting to talk. Time is on your side because the ACO’s are not yet ready to begin negotiations with the skilled community.

By beginning the conversation now you will learn what the important issues are and be able to provide solutions. You are positioning yourself as someone that is proactive and forward thinking, all attributes of a good partner.

Information is key and the primary driver is this new world but don’t discount the power of a good relationship. A relationship you are starting to forge now.