rothman1cisQuality means making a difference in people's lives every day - for the better - and that's what Kindred Healthcare is all about, according to Dr. Marc Rothman, Chief Medical Officer for Kindred.

Toward that end, Dr. Rothman emphasizes that Kindred must assess care based on measures that are standard and understood by others, and that quality care is the result of the efforts of every single Kindred employee every single day.

"Kindred employees partner with first-class organizations," such as Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins, UCLA Health, and Kaiser Permanente every day, Dr. Rothman says. These organizations dug deep to find where they could make changes to go from good to great and Kindred needs to follow this path, standardizing and streamlining care, and emphasizing quality, to be the "best healthcare company it can be," he says.

Dr. Rothman shared his personal perspective on quality care Tuesday at the 2015 Clinical Impact Symposium. He said he has experienced both the good and the bad aspects of healthcare with members of his family.

 His mom received stellar care when she was ill, and that high quality of care extended to the family as well. His wife, on the other hand, received poor care that involved unnecessary tests and rudeness from healthcare staff toward her and her loved ones. She wasn't treated well as a patient or as a person, Dr. Rothman says.

 Looking ahead, he thinks of his Aunt Jackie, who is in her late 70s, with type 2 diabetes and dementia, and he wonders what her healthcare will be like.

His hope, of course, is that she will receive the highest quality care, which means, ultimately, that she will be kept safe.

High quality care, he explains, can be described as the difference between safe care and unsafe care. Quality care means being treated as a person, with dignity and compassion. It also means that members of the staff communicate and listen. At the opposite end of the spectrum, bad quality care is embodied by poor communication and staff members who are inattentive and insincere.

rothman2cisDr. Rothman says that it's not only healthcare providers and organizations that are assessing quality - patients are, as well. And they're looking at quality with the same eyes as those who provide the care - from how providers or facilities perform on quality measures, to the ratings of other patients on satisfaction surveys. The standard of care is based not just on each patient's experience, but also on how the organization delivers that care to all of its patients.

With the shift to tying reimbursement to quality, it's clear that healthcare organizations that don't focus on quality will suffer when it comes to reimbursement, Dr. Rothman says. And the way to accurately measure quality is to standardize how the industry looks at, collects, and assesses data. This is the goal of the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act of 2014.

 The IMPACT Act requires the submission of standardized data by long-term care hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies and inpatient rehabilitation facilities. At the heart of the IMPACT Act is the ability to make cross-setting quality comparisons and to include patient-centric references and requirements.

As the way Kindred assesses care evolves, the efforts of every single employee continue to form the foundation for delivery of quality care every day, Dr. Rothman says. While having multiple 3-star facilities is an achievement, the goal is to have 90 percent or more of Kindred facilities at this level. The 3-star rating, in short, should be the standard that all Kindred employees aspire to, he says.

Each year the Kindred Clinical Impact Symposium focuses on a topic to enhance clinical practice in the post-acute continuum and maintain Kindred as a leader in clinical excellence. This seventh symposium focuses on effective care management and, specifically, fall prevention and medication management across the continuum. At this week's symposium, held in Louisville, Kentucky, national speakers discuss these topics broadly, while internal speakers bring it home to Kindred attendees from across the country.