There has been a tremendous amount of information lately discussing the changes that are taking place in the world of healthcare. The biggest leader of change has been the government by way of CMS. Cost is what is driving the need for change. Predictions of insolvency are not without merit if something is not done.

There are many ideas being considered to try to curb the rise in healthcare expenditures. One such idea is the advent of accountable care organizations or ACO’s. These organizations are trying to better coordinate a patients’ care so that no one falls through the cracks. By trying to ensure that potential problems don’t turn into bigger health issues savings are realized. It is through these savings that ACO’s are paid.

Because so much emphasis is being placed on savings healthcare organizations are being asked to prove themselves in areas like length of stay and hospital readmissions which lead to additional cost. Providers are being told that outcome data is all that matters anymore. While I believe that your greatest strength lies in your ability to show that you can produce quality outcomes, I have even spoken to that point, do not forget what has always been true. It is important to have a clean, well maintained facility. A residents’ family wants to feel that their loved one is in an attractive environment that provides opportunities to remain active and one that truly cares about them.

So while you are being told this is only a numbers driven business don’t allow that to lessen your focus on the “caring” and “compassion” that has been the bedrock of your industry.

While every provider has the goal to give “elite” care keep in mind that most consumers are not privy to your clinical outcome scores. What they do know is what they can see, touch, feel and sense about your community. Is it clean and well kept ? Is the communication early and often ? Do their loved ones seem happy ?

Please don’t misunderstand my point. In today’s ever changing environment you MUST be strong clinically and have the data to back it up. One thing however has not changed, you are still taking care of someone’s mom or dad.