Have you been paying attention to the news lately?  Then most likely you have heard the term ACO or Accountable Care Organization.  Since the signing of the Affordable Care Act, this piece of the legislation has become a buzzword, or rather an opportunity for senior living communities to expand their service offering.

Ultimately, the goal of an ACO is to improve the quality and delivery of healthcare while reducing healthcare costs.  It is a way to encourage providers across the healthcare continuum of care to work together with a patient-focused mentality.  These are concepts that are not new to the senior living industry.  Forward-thinking communities have been focused on creating resident-centered care across the senior living continuum of independent living, assisted living and skilling living for some time now.

The Affordable Care Act and creation of ACOs, allows senior living care providers to extend this expertise and quality of care to support the healthcare industry and benefit patients of many ages.  As a result, these providers will have a new opportunity to begin to develop a relationship with people who could some day become a resident of their community.

This crossover care is occurring in the form of rehabilitation services.  The traditional skilled nursing rehab facilities are being transformed in order to create this Rehab-ACO connection.  As more older adult communities explore this option they may find themselves functioning as a mini-hospital that works hand-in-hand with the traditional hospital.  Instead of a patient being discharged and sent home unprepared; the wellness promotion, social programming, education, and hospitality components of these rehab facilities will support their recovery and ultimately get patients safely back home to a fully-functioning life when the time is right.

The future of the ACO is still unclear, and there is not one clear definition or go-to model for how these facilities will look and feel.  However, forward-thinking senior living communities are researching, planning and in some cases already implementing successful facilities and programs that will lead the way.

The following photos demonstrate how some communities we have worked with are leading the way in rehabilitation care. Are you prepared for the Rehab-ACO connection?

The Retreat – Kalispell, MT

Miller Rehabilitation at Sojourn – Kankakee, IL