Peer-to-Peer: New CEO of AccentCare describes patient-focused approach

AccentCare disclosed last Thursday the appointment of its new chief executive officer, Laura Tortorella, who will take the reins on Oct. 2. She comes to the Dallas-based post-acute provider from a large accountable care organization, Steward Health System, where she served as chief operational officer. In an interview with McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse, Tortorella spoke about how she plans to leverage data analytics and value-based principles to put the needs of patients first.

McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse: What drew you to this position, and what was appealing about AccentCare?

Tortorella: As we all know, healthcare is evolving. And as care continues to shift outside of the acute care space and the four walls of the hospital, high-quality, comprehensive post-acute solutions have never been more important than they are today. AccentCare as a company is a trusted, established, longtime partner in the post-acute space and will be an integral part of the solution going forward as the health care needs continue to grow on the post-acute side. So as I was looking at the company and what opportunities made sense to me next, AccentCare popped out as a really exciting organization that’s really primed to meet evolving healthcare needs. And it has a track record of being able to do that very successfully and with very high-quality patient-focused care for many years.

McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse: Could you talk about your plans stepping into this new role as CEO? Are you focused on growth?

McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse: What is your experience in home care, and has this experience set you up for the role that you are stepping into?

Tortorella: So I come to AccentCare from Steward Healthcare, which is an integrated health delivery system that operates in multiple states across the U.S. Steward has multiple access points; acute care is a part of it, but they have a large physician practice base and urgent care centers. Interestingly, Steward sold its home care and hospice business to AccentCare a few years ago. In many ways, it feels like I’m coming home, just to a different part of the healthcare continuum and to an organization that at least in part I’ve known for my many years while I was at Steward.

I have seen the challenges acute care facilities face in trying to think through a smooth, efficient discharge-planning process. And I’ve also seen that the need for comprehensive, robust and high-quality post-acute solutions such as home care and hospice are continuing to play, and will play an even bigger role over the coming years. So I bring to AccentCare a very keen understanding of what that connection point between acute care and post-acute care should look like for the patient and certainly will build on that in my time at AccentCare.

McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse: Steward Health system is one of the largest accountable care organizations in the country. Are you coming to the table with value-based care in mind? And what would you say the future holds with regards to value-based care in the post-acute space?

Tortorella: I do come to AccentCare with a good understanding of value-based care and how to make that work successfully, most importantly for the patient. Value-based care starts with value. It starts with putting the patient’s care needs first and understanding what clinical services need to be around the patient in order to meet their health care needs — and to do it in an efficient, effective and high-quality way. Home care, hospice and post-acute services are an enormous part of value-based care. As care continues to shift outside of the acute care walls, the role that those post-acute players are going to play in driving value is only going to grow.

McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse: You were in charge of Steward Health System’s work with artificial intelligence and predictive analytics. What would you say the future holds for this technology within healthcare?

Tortorella: I think data can play an enormous role and be incredibly powerful in helping organizations make fact-based decisions in evolving environments. Certainly, something I’ll bring to the AccentCare team is an understanding and appreciation of data and — if used correctly, and given to the key decision-makers within an organization — the power that it can have in helping drive really good decisions for an organization, patients or providers.

McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse: Amid such challenging times for recruitment and retention, do you also bring this analytical, data-driven approach to labor management?

Tortorella: I think data can be used in a lot of different ways. Labor management is an evolving and changing component of the healthcare delivery system — certainly over the course of the past few years. A lot has changed related to that, but the importance of a team working together cohesively to meet the clinical needs of the patient is incredibly important, and I will do whatever I can for AccentCare to ensure that those needs are met and the team supported.

Peer-to-Peer: New CEO of AccentCare describes patient-focused approach (