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Report Highlights Barriers to Post-Acute Care Decision-Making

"Too often, the process of discharge planning can fail to help hospitalized patients and their family caregivers identify high-quality PAC providers that can best meet their needs for continued care," concluded a report released last week by the United Hospital Fund. Entitled "Difficult Decisions About Post-Acute Care and Why They Matter," the report discusses the importance of post-acute care and examines the barriers that patients and their families face in making informed decisions about post-acute care. Among the challenges cited by the report are the short timeframes for discharge decisions, payer authorization requirements and managed care network limits, and the shortcomings of publicly-available quality data. In addition, the report notes that federal regulations discourage discharge planners from providing advice about discharge destinations. On the other hand, emerging value-based payment arrangements are creating financial incentives for health systems to refer patients to high-quality, cost-effective post-acute care providers. According to the report, it is unclear how these incentives will affect the post-acute care decision-making experience for patients and their families.

This report is the first in a series. Future reports will address the experiences of patients and family caregivers, the perspectives of health care providers, and the best practices and public policies that could help New Yorkers who are facing decisions about post-acute care.

Contact: Karen Lipson, klipson@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8383 ext. 124