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Synergy Summit 2021 Event Recap: Thought Leaders from Across the PAC and LTC Industries Sound Off

With stunning mountain views as the backdrop at the Montage Deer Valley, Utah, Synergy Summit 2021 was the seminal educational event for C-Suite executives navigating the post-pandemic landscape for the post-acute care (PAC) and long-term care (LTC) industries.

The education-driven retreat, founded by Synergy HCA and SRX, provided owners and operators with content-rich programs delivered by top thought leaders. Synergy Summit 2021 focused on addressing the many challenges facing the industry in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was a phenomenal event with incredible speakers and panelists. The following is a roundup of themes and content that came out of Synergy Summit.  

Seema Verma, former Administrator at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and a national health policy expert served as the 2021 Keynote Speaker. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Verma facilitated giving Medicare patients free access to testing and vaccines, prioritizing the needs of PAC and LTC facilities, and guiding American healthcare through unprecedented times. During her keynote speech, Verma gave incredible insight into the current and future state of the industry, and thanked all those who worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic on behalf of our vulnerable resident populations.

“Your jobs are challenging on a good day,” she said, “but COVID tested the resolve of every individual involved with long-term care. I know every one of you worked night and day on behalf of the people entrusted to your care, under difficult, unpredictable, and unrelenting circumstances. You took financial hits, hits in the media. But you kept at it and you and your teams were heroes in this war.” 

Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of the American Health Care Association (AHCA), served as a featured speaker. AHCA represents over 14,000 skilled nursing facilities and assisted living centers delivering bipartisan policy solutions to government decision-makers. During his presentation, Parkinson spoke on the legislative and regulatory outlook and revealed that there would be positive news regarding the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) in the coming days. Read more from Parkinson—his remarks were highlighted on Skilled Nursing News, McKnight’s, and Prime Care Technologies. 

Christine Lipson, Director of Home Services at Castell Health; Kerry Palakanis, Executive Director at Intermountain Healthcare; and Kevin Riddleberger, Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Founder at Dispatch Health, focused on the acceleration of the hospital-at-home model. The session dove into topics surrounding LTC facilities having a continuing role in the care continuum, partnering with home-care delivery systems, and improving transitions between the home delivery and acute-care models. The overall goal being to reduce unnecessary emergency department visits and hospitalizations. 

LTC occupancy and staffing have become a hot topic in the post-pandemic world. In the session, “State of the Industry, an LTC Executive Perspective,” presidents and CEOs of various LTC groups discussed the impact and challenges of reduced LTC occupancy rates across the industry. They also detailed the importance of investing in human resource changes to increase retention and recruitment of staff and focus on building strong company cultures to attract the right people to take care of residents. 

During the same session, Norman Rokeach, Founder & President of Marquis Limited, said that occupancy numbers should rise when families understand that the facilities are safe, explained further in this article from McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. 

During a session surrounding the state of the industry from a hospital executive perspective, Dr. Nihar R. Desai, Dan Liljenquist, and MJ Tran took to the stage to discuss the value in developing closer skilled nursing partnerships, post-pandemic. The panelists discussed how post-acute partners—including skilled nursing facilities (SNFs)—are instrumental in helping Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). Panelists left the audience with a key piece of knowledge: SNFs provide the best care, and migrating away will only hurt patient outcomes. 

Jason Worthen, Regional VP at Steward Health Care, and Kevin Murphy, Executive Director at Clover Health Partners, discussed Direct Contracting opportunities in skilled nursing and offered insight into the value of strong relationships with area hospitals. In addition, Worthen and Murphy detailed the importance for post-acute providers to partner with Direct Contracting Entities (DCEs). 

Jess Dalton, Ensign Services Vice President, moderated the above panel and encouraged providers to take more significant ownership within the PAC and LTC industries. To not be viewed as a commodity within the healthcare industry, Dalton recommended taking on and owning risk. Read this article from McKnight’s to hear more from Dalton. 

A “fireside chat” on the “Future of LTC and Value-Based Care Models” with Brian Fuller, CEO of Integrated Care Solutions, and Eric Tanner, CEO of OnPointe, made it known that value-based care is here to stay. Fuller and Tanner discussed various strategies for providers and encouraged them to not hold out for funds and get creative for the benefit and upward mobility of the industry. According to Tanner, it will be necessary for post-acute providers to focus on local and regional partnerships going forward. 

The knowledge delivered at Synergy Summit 2021 from key thought leaders and experts will continue to guide the PAC and LTC industries for years to come. 

SRX is a co-founder of Synergy Summit. SRX is a technology and advisory company that helps LTC operators realize the lowest net cost on pharmacy spend. We help our customers improve drug utilization, manage pharmacy relationships, reduce costs and waste, and maximize rebates. We are committed to transparency and accountability and guarantee our quarterly rebates are paid on time, every time. Contact us at 833 633 6833.

Learn more about SRX.

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