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Data expert strips down PDPM myths, truths

by James Berklan, McKnight’s LTC News

Long-term care professionals have been diligently cramming to prepare for a new skilled nursing reimbursement system in October, but a data expert had a sobering observation for presentation attendees Friday.

The Patient-Driven Payment Model is the biggest overhaul of nursing home reimbursement in at least a generation. But it is only a temporary fix, said Steven Littlehale in a final-day session at the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care’s spring meeting.

“PDPM is indeed a stepping stone to something else,” he explained. Ultimately, it “will morph into” a unified post-acute care payment system (U-PAC) called for in the IMPACT Act. That final evolution could come as soon as the prescribed 2023, though no one was taking bets on it at Littlehale’s packed session, “Implications of PDPM for Skilled Nursing.”

Littlehale,  a gerontological clinical nurse specialist, and executive vice president and chief clinical officer at PointRight Inc., delivered extensive tips for what successful providers should be doing — and avoiding — regarding PDPM preparations.

First, however, he made clear that PDPM is still a system based on volume.

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