FAH Hospital Policy Blog

Perspectives on health policy affecting America's hospitals and the patients we serve.

New Podcast: The Role of Long-Term Acute Care Hospitals During COVID-19 and Beyond with Ben Breier

Kindred Healthcare CEO Ben Breier sat down with FAH President and CEO and Hospitals In Focus host Chip Kahn to discuss how the company’s network of hospitals and staff went into action to provide COVID and non-COVID patients the highest quality of care over the past year. Breier emphasizes the vital role LTACs play in the health care continuum, saying they help to “achieve more efficient recovery, if you will, of patients who are at these higher risk levels.”

Long-term acute care (LTAC) hospitals are caring for some of the most medically complex patients during the pandemic. As a post-acute care provider, Kindred Healthcare has been right in the middle of the battle to defeat COVID-19 by partnering with short-term acute care hospitals to help treat patients and ease overcrowding in hot spots across the country.

“As we at Kindred and others learned more about the virus specifically, our hospitals and payer sources, I think really began to realize that LTACs have in many ways the exact clinical expertise that a COVID patient needs and is specifically required to treat one of those patients,” said Breier. Not only were Kindred’s hospitals uniquely prepared to treat COVID patients, but the system’s caregivers also leaped into action to care for patients in the nation’s hot spots. “We, on a number of occasions, actually had Kindred personal – nurses, clinicians, respiratory therapists, radiologists, etc. – that were willing to get on a plane and go to a hot spot and provide care where we might have had a number of clinical personnel who were down with the disease or were infected,” said Breier. “I think having a national presence was incredibly helpful to our ability to provide care during this time.”

Breier also discusses a recent report from ATI Advisory that highlights the critical role LTACs have played throughout the pandemic. The report explores how LTAC providers have been able to bridge gaps and extend care within the care continuum. As Breier says, “LTACs were uniquely prepared for the clinical complexities of some of the most severe COVID patients, the study clearly states that.”

Based on the COVID experience, the report also recommends key considerations for LTAC hospitals as part of future health policy development. ATI Advisory’s analysis recommends future health care policy considerations to dissect what went right and what went wrong amid the pandemic with the goal of achieving even better care in the future.

See the full report here.

Hear more about post-acute care from Chip’s conversation with Al Dobson, Getting back to Life: The Growing Demand for Post-Acute Care with Al Dobson.

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