Interview with Martha Schram, President - Aegis Therapies
Kris Mastrangelo, President of Harmony Healthcare International (HHI) interviews Martha Schram, President of Aegis Therapies in the AHCA Provider Lounge. Martha discusses how the role of rehab will continue to change in order to meet the standards of person-centered care. Deploying a risk management mindset, the rehab team needs to help the SNF accomplish its goals and reduce avoidable hospitalizations. (Audio transcription below).
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Kris Mastrangelo: Good afternoon everyone. It’s Kris Mastrangelo at the Provider Lounge held at the Annual American Health Care Association Convention. Today we are blessed to have Martha Schram, President of Aegis Therapies. Welcome Martha.
Martha Schram: Thanks Kris. It’s great to be here.
Kris: It’s great to see you again and we know that this convention is just massively controlled by the payment reform that is occurring. Lots of worry, lots of fear but on the other side there’s lots of opportunity and we know inevitable change. So I mean with your organization and experience – amazing experience – can you tell us what you’re envisioning the future and impart some words of wisdom on us.
Martha: Sure. I’m not so sure about the words of wisdom, but you know there is so much change coming and I think when you sort of plow through it and try to find the true foundational pieces, which I think are very exciting – not just for rehab, but for the industry and the patients that we serve – foundationally everybody is on board and trying to define – put in a box – this whole concept of quality and value and how to reward and recognize those entities that accomplish that. We’ve talked about it for a long time. If you look at the at the regulatory environment, legislative environment, some of the prickly – a word you used earlier in our conversation – part of what is prickly about this is that there are of people working on it and if you look at some of the proposed legislation you can go “wait a minute there are some discrepancies here – I don’t see how the dots connect.” So I think it’s really important to step back and say first and foremost, quality is going to be is going to be defined and value is going to be rewarded. I think the other common thread in all of this is that it truly is and again a trite phrase because it’s been used for a long time, but teeth are being put to this and that is patient-centered…and really it’s more than patient-centered, it’s person-centered because at the heart of all this, from a rehab perspective, it’s all about redefining the role of rehab regardless of setting. The patient journey is the patient journey. So a lot of work needs to be done and is being done and we’re doing it – is around just what is the role of rehab in a SNF for example. What's going to be rewarded or not to SNF operators. Well, you need to avoid avoidable hospitalizations. If I’m your rehab partner, whoever your rehab partner is, needs to help you accomplish that goal. So that’s more of a risk management mindset and therapists have so many skills to contribute, right? You’re an OT, I’m a PT. So very important that delineation of the roles. It takes collaboration to a totally different level because unless we really are in sync we may be all doing the right thing, but if we are not doing it at the right time in the right way we’re not going to accomplish that goal of avoiding those hospitalizations. The second is the pressure on reducing the length of stay because at the end of the day part of the aim is reduced costs. So what’s the rehab partnership around that? I would argue it’s doubling down on evidence-based practice, it’s
knowing that the moment you engage that patient you are efficient with your assessment, you know exactly what you need to tackle first because the goals are different tomorrow being set in a SNF than they were yesterday. You have to set that transitional goal. So I think it’s really exciting. I think it’s really exciting although we got some gray zones to kind of swim through and you know this better than I, every time there’s a new Final Rule that comes out you’re the one reading the 2,000 pages right and we all have to extract from that the real nuggets – and another words you use so appropriately - and
really take cues from that. It’s really exciting.
Kris: Well the industry’s blessed to have someone with your experience and knowledge during
these tough – navigating through these times. So we’re grateful for that and we’re looking forward to how your organization blossoms and gives us new ideas and the service delivery for goals and value and for quality.
Martha: I think there’s going to be a lot of best practices emerging and I think the paradigm shift for clinicians is ultimately going to be just so positive. Thanks for having me.
Kris: Thank you so much. Thank you.