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Insights and Trends

C-suite Insights: HFMA 2021 Post-Acute Survey

Exploring market expansion, quality measurement and other key opportunities around post-acute services

The healthcare landscape is constantly shifting, presenting new opportunities for health systems across the nation. To gain greater insight into trends within the post-acute space, Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA)1 and Lifepoint partnered on a survey of almost 200 hospital leaders. The survey explored key opportunities around post-acute services, including market expansion, quality measurement and partnership.  

Key insights and areas of opportunity for 2022 and beyond included:

  • Hospital leaders reported that their top three areas of concern are (1) financial performance, (2) staffing and (3) patient outcomes, with strategic partnerships/growth and operational efficiencies close behind. Many hospitals are looking to strategic partnership with a focused expert to help address these factors – creating a win-win scenario for health systems and their patients.
  • Health systems are now prioritizing the integration of multiple post-acute services when determining next steps in their hospital’s strategic plans. This was highlighted in the survey, as 71% of respondents stated that COVID-19 will play a noticeable or significant role in their hospital’s strategy for 2022. As reported throughout the pandemic, post-acute services, such as inpatient rehabilitation, will continue to play a pivotal role in both COVID and non-COVID patient recovery as well as a hospital’s overall performance.
  • Nearly half of the surveyed leaders noted that having multiple post-acute care options within the care continuum would help generate positive outcomes when addressing the medically complex patient population.
  • Many stated that the increase in patient volume is now requiring additional expertise from multiple service lines. One way health systems are achieving this is through the co-location model. Co-location enables hospitals to offer multiple services on one hospital campus and expand specialized services to those who need it most.
  • Additionally, nearly half of respondents said that they either already co-locate, by offering multiple acute and post-acute services under one roof, or have considered it. Those who already co-located multiple service lines were often better prepared to meet rapidly changing patient needs during the peak of the pandemic. 
  • When asked about the benefits of outsourcing inpatient rehabilitation services to a partner, more than half of the surveyed health leaders stated they already outsource these services. Those considering it said the benefits would include increasing the appropriate volume of medically complex patients, addressing staffing issues, maintaining compliance and improving clinical quality and financial performance.

Final Takeaways

The impact of COVID-19 in addition to the rise of medically complex patients has led health systems to look for ways to improve care quality while optimizing financial performance, overcoming denials and meeting the growing patient need. To achieve this, c-suites are leveraging key solutions, including expansion of post-acute offerings within the health system and strategic partnerships with dedicated inpatient rehabilitation partners.

To learn how we can help your hospital meet this expanding opportunity within the post-acute space, visit our website.

Click here to view HMFA’s full survey results.


  1. HFMA, (September 2021), Rehabilitation Service Line Survey, [PowerPoint Slides], Healthcare Financial Management Association

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