Hospital stays are expensive. In fact, an average stay costs about $10,000. Some of this expense is passed on to you and your employees in higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
And your employees may need additional care after leaving the hospital, too. This is called post-acute care. It can take place in skilled nursing and long-term care facilities, rehab centers, or at home with physical therapists or home nurses.
People don’t always plan for post-acute care after a hospital discharge. And this can result in further complications, longer recovery times, and costly readmissions.
But when it’s done right, with an effective discharge plan overseen by a nurse manager, the transition to a post-acute setting is good for your employees’ health and your company’s bottom line.
A path to recovery at a better cost
With access to properly managed post-acute care, your employees can get the medical help they need to fully recover from injuries or illnesses. And that translates into lower long-term costs for them and you.
A lot of the necessary medical care that follows a hospital stay can be expensive. And the amount and quality of post-acute care can be uneven from one patient to the next.
That’s part of the reason why 17.5% of patients end up back in the hospital at least once within 30 days of a hospital stay. And why up to $17 billion is spent each year on avoidable readmissions.
However, when insurers actively manage post-acute care, the quality of care for patients improves, and readmissions, ER visits, and overall costs go down. And these avoided costs far exceed the direct costs of post-acute care services.
That’s why some proactive health insurers work with companies that specialize in post-acute care management.
These companies coordinate a wide range of post-acute care services, including:
- Transiting employees from hospitals to skilled nursing or long-term care facilities
- Arranging for in-home care with home health care agencies
- Addressing medical equipment needs, like wheelchairs, special beds, or walkers
Some also work with insurers to pay post-acute care providers based on the quality, rather than the quantity of care they deliver to patients. So the care providers involved are rewarded for encouraging better, faster recoveries. And you’ll pay less for better managed care.
A good discharge plan helps employees return to work
Another way to make sure that your employees get the post-acute care they need is to encourage them to work with their care team to make a comprehensive hospital discharge plan. This ensures they’ll get the right post-hospital care and can return to work when ready. A good plan includes:
- A list of things to expect after a procedure or treatment
- Required care needs for after they leave the hospital
- Location(s) where they should receive care, whether at a skilled nursing facility, a physical therapist’s office, or in their own home
- Expected length of post-acute treatment
- Medical equipment needs
- Transportation needs
- Timeline for follow-up visits with specialists or primary care doctors
With the proper planning, employees can have a successful recovery after a hospital stay. And you’ll both save.