As the World Turns... So Does Kindred

By Maggie Cunningham

Imagine a world where a patient is able to access pre acute care rather than just post acute care; a world where there is a more central role for post acute care. At the end of the 2015 Clinical Impact Symposium's second full day, the clinicians were treated to a dinner where William Altman, Executive Vice President for Strategy, Policy and Integrated Care provided insights into Kindred's current position in the world, as well as where we are headed.

Altman spoke to how we, as a company, are figuring out how to reposition ourselves in this new world, where healthcare is patient-centric.

"I don't know what is going to happen," Altman said. "But I do know that our country has reached a tipping point when it comes to integrated care."

 dinner6Altman loosely quoted Yogi Berra: "When you come to an inflection point in the road, take it … If you don't know where you are going, you might end up somewhere else."

Altman then asked the audience to move forward by looking past the colors and logo in Kindred's motto, Continue the Care, and remember where that phrase came from. It originated by our patients, who after great experiences in a long term acute care facility asked, "why can't I continue my care with you?"

"We need to wrap around that continuum [of care] and integrate that care product to our patients," said Altman.

dinner3He brought in the Contact Center that Susan Moss, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications, introduced earlier in the conference. He visualizes this center as a way to not only identify patients in advance but to maintain contact with them even after they have left our care.

"We now have the ability to answer questions that people have not just about health, but about aging," said Altman.

Altman then played a game of word association with the audience. He asked them to shout out the first words that came to mind when he said, "post acute care."  Audience members shouted words such as, "complicated," "rehabilitation," and "recovery." When asked to do the same word association from the mind-set of patients and families, the audience fell silent. This silence wasn't a result of the clinicians not knowing the patients and their families, but from the lack of understanding from the patients themselves about what post acute care really is.

dinner4"Everything I've said so far starts with, 'what does that mean for the patient,'" Altman said. "So my challenge to you, when you focus on falls prevention as you have this week, when you talk about best practices in medicine management, wound care, and all of the other topics we've covered here in the last few years, is to ask yourselves, 'how does that fit into this, so that it is superior patient care, tied to that patient experience?'"

In his conclusion, Altman highlighted that at the end of the day, we need to put ourselves into the value stream of health care, and that starts with the patients and the clinicians at their bedsides. That is what will forge our path for the future of this company.

"That's what we're building," said Altman. "This is our vision."