LTACHs: Four Things Hospital Leaders Need to Know to Enhance Outcomes

Recent regulatory changes in LTACH development present new growth opportunities for short-term hospitals and enhance care options for their most medically complex patients.

Of the 68 million Americans experiencing multiple comorbidities, a majority lack access to the high-quality, specialized care needed to effectively treat their illnesses.1 This is due in part to limitations as to where and when long-term acute care hospitals (LTACHs) were historically able to be developed nationwide.2 As a result, patients receive a lower level of treatment, thus contributing to more costly readmissions, less effective care interventions and long-term complications. Common misconceptions have hindered health systems from including LTACHs in their market expansion strategies.

Read this guide to discover four key benefits of LTACHs that hospital leaders need to know and why long-term acute care hospital integration should be a top priority in a health system’s market expansion strategy to help ensure optimal facility and patient outcomes.

1. Uniquely Equipped to Treat Medically Complex Patients

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2. Shorter Average Length of Stay

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3. Specialized Care Approach to Avoid Readmission Risk

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4. Play a Role in Lowering Total Care Costs

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Providing Long-Term Solutions Through Long-Term Acute Care Partnership

As hospitals work to resolve critical issues around readmission risk, care costs and specialization, LTACHs serve as an important strategy to combat today’s healthcare challenges and meet the growing patient needs in local communities.

As noted in a recent research paper, “The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare areas in need of review and assessment within our healthcare system. These include public health preparedness, STACH capacity, and the limitations of SNFs. LTAC hospitals have helped address these areas... by functioning as a flexible acute care venue."8

Kindred Healthcare partners with health systems to develop new or optimize existing LTACHs through hospital-in-hospital (HiH), contract management and joint-venture freestanding partnership opportunities.

For more than 30 years, Kindred has worked with patients and health systems across the country to help treat the growing medically complex patient population, reduce readmissions, lower care costs and ultimately improve outcomes for both patients and hospitals.

For information about how your health system could benefit from an LTACH partnership, visit


  1. Boersma, P., Black, L., & Ward, B. (2020, September 17). Prevalence of multiple chronic conditions among us Adults, 2018. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  2. Grabowski, A. N. M. D. C. (2020, April 13). How can we ramp up hospital capacity to handle the surge of covid-19 patients? LongTerm acute care hospitals can play a CRITICAL role: Health AFFAIRS BLOG. Health Affairs. hblog20200410.606195/full/.
  3. ATI Advisory. “Role of LTAC Hospitals in COVID-19 Pandemic”, 2021 pandemic/
  4. Ohtake PJ, Coffey Scott J, Hinman RS, et al. “Impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions experienced in the first year following a critical illness: protocol for a systematic review.” BMJ Open;7:e013847. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-013847, 2017
  5. MedPAC 2004; RTI 2012.
  6. Koenig, Lane et al. “The Role of Long-term Acute Care Hospitals in Treating the Critically Ill and Medically Complex: An Analysis of Nonventilator Patients.” Medical care vol. 53,7 (2015): 582-90.
  7. Kindred Healthcare calculations using data from CMS MEDPAR, 2019
  8. ATI Advisory. “Role of LTAC Hospitals in COVID-19 Pandemic”, 2021

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