Acute Agility: Why Leaders Should Build Flexibility Into Their Strategic Plans

As the medical complexity of patients in the United States continues to increase, it is important for providers to be flexible in their ability to respond to current and future patient needs. This has proven to be especially vital as the COVID-19 public health emergency demonstrated the need for health systems to have flexible bed capacity and care models. During the pandemic, this helped ensure every patient could be cared for effectively, with programs and services tailored to their specific needs.

But flexibility isn’t just important in an immediate crisis – it’s something healthcare leaders should be thinking about amid a rapidly changing healthcare landscape, as patient preferences and reimbursement continue to shift. Nimbleness is something that should be built into a health system’s short-and long-term plans.

Benjamin Breier

In this paper, hear from Kindred Healthcare CEO Benjamin Breier, who offers insights into a model that allows health systems to be more agile in their ability to respond to shifting needs.

In order to effectively prepare for the future, health systems should consider co-locating a variety of services on their hospital campuses beyond short-term acute care, including rehabilitation, long-term acute care and behavioral health, and allow for beds to be designated flexibly across these services. This model not only brings new financial opportunities, but also gives health systems a better chance at success under value-based care. When health systems are able to provide a larger span of the care continuum on one campus, they’re better able to manage care transitions, which is critical to both clinical and quality performance as providers take on increasing risk for patients’ overall health and post-discharge outcomes. Throughout this paper, learn about best practices for incorporating this model into a health system’s short- and long-term strategy.

The Case for Co-Location

Advances in medicine and growth in life expectancy have ultimately led to an increase in the complexity of cases in health systems throughout the country. Patients are presenting with more comorbidities and requiring coordinated, multidisciplinary treatment. This was an issue well before the COVID-19 pandemic, which has since introduced “long-hauler” patients into the system. These patients require care from multiple specialists and around-the-clock advanced nursing care.

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How Co-Location and Bed Flexibility Can Help Patients

Leaders who co-locate multiple post-acute and specialized services on their campus and build in flexibility between long-term acute care, rehabilitation and behavioral health beds have the potential to realize the following benefits for patients and population health:

Ease of Access

Continued Specialized Care and Differentiation From Post-Acute Competition

Shortening Length of Stay

Resolving Gaps in Inpatient Behavioral Health

Specialty Hospital Partnership Solutions

Through a history of successful joint-venture partnership and management agreements, Kindred partners with health systems to develop co-location and specialty service strategies that meet the specific patient needs and opportunities in the communities they serve.

“Kindred is unique in that we provide flexible service line offerings, such as LTACHs with specialized acute rehabilitation units or dedicated behavioral health units,” Breier said. “We work with the partners to determine the best solution to meet the needs in their community—whether it’s a specialized unit, a hospital-in-hospital or working together to build a new free-standing hospital.”

Specialized care is complicated. Kindred helps to relieve the burden of running programs like behavioral health and inpatient rehabilitation, while also helping to ensure compliance, increasing appropriate patient access, reducing readmissions and improving patient experience.

How Kindred Can Help

To learn how Kindred can help your health system, visit

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