4 months after the implementation of PDPM, early trends are beginning to emerge. The main goal of PDPM has been to base Medicare reimbursement on the patient’s condition instead of therapy volume. Let’s begin by analyzing PDPM’s early returns and looking ahead toward its future.

1. Part A Reimbursement under PDPM has been higher than anticipated around the country. Is it because of the new NTA component or because of the continued impact of SNFs admitting more medically complex patients? It is important for SNFs to peel back the layers on each component (SLP, PT/OT, Nursing, NTA). Within each component, look for accurate and optimal reimbursement opportunities.

2. It’s all about the team. High performing facilities appear to have one thing in common; great team communication. Doing a great job on Section GG, capturing comorbidities and an efficient Medicare huddle all have one thing in common: teamwork

3. Has therapy utilization changed? It’s probably too early to tell, so measuring outcomes will have value. Rehospitalization percentage and functional outcomes will be great benchmarks for SNFs to measure.

4. The PDPM SLP Component is making an impact. Best practice is to have the speech therapist assess the patient in time for the 5-day admission MDS. According to Language Fundamentals’ CNY Regional Manager Kailee Willette, CCC-SLP, the most positive aspect of PDPM is that “speech is able to see more patients with cognitive deficits or speech language issues than before because the focus was traditionally on swallowing. Speech is more “hands on” instead of relying on the judgement of other staff members.” Willette went on to say, “because of the speech language pathologists’ ability to impact patients with Parkinson’s, low vocal volume, and confusion the field of speech is becoming more appreciated than ever before.”