The benefits of specialization can extend beyond volume generation and partnerships within the
traditional bounds of an acute/post-acute relationship. A strong specialty can also open the door to
new business opportunities.
Once a provider develops a successful specialty program, a logical next step is to extend that program to their other locations or care settings.
Continue reading to learn how one inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF) accessed their traditional patients in a new setting. For more tactics to build and support specialty lines, download our research report excerpt: 10 Tactics to Ensure Specialty Return on Investment, Part 3.
Armfeldt Rehabilitation successfully moved their specialty—rehabilitation following orthopedic
surgery—from an IRF to a sub-acute unit to access their traditional patients in a new setting.
Armfeldt had developed significant specialty expertise in treating post-operative orthopedic patients,
but changes in medical necessity requirements shifted such patients away from the IRF setting.
To avoid losing that core patient group, as well as their institutional knowledge, Armfeldt partnered with a local hospital to operate a sub-acute unit specifically for post-operative joint replacement patients. The unit is a joint venture between Armfeldt and the hospital in which it is located, but accepts patients from all local hospitals. Currently, 60% of the referrals to the unit come from other hospitals.
When transitioning a specialty to a new care setting, an organization must ensure that the strength of the
specialty is not diluted. While care processes must adjust to meet the needs of the new setting, the
same dedication to high-level specialty care must remain consistent.
To do so, Armfeldt maintained the same level of care for the patients in the sub-acute unit that they had offered in their IRF, including delivering frequent, intense therapy not commonly offered in a sub-acute setting. They also followed the same clinical pathways they designed for IRF patients. Patients ambulate early and often, resulting in faster and more complete recovery than at similar sub-acute offerings.
The sub-acute unit breaks even financially, but it provides benefits by generating consumer interest in downstream Armfeldt services, such as home health or outpatient rehab. The program also strengthens referring relationships with orthopedists while enabling Armfeldt to continue to serve simple orthopedic patients.
For more tactics to build and support specialty lines, download our research report excerpt: 10 Tactics to Ensure Return on Specialty Investments, Part 3.