Unlike home health and other post-acute sectors, skilled nursing operators and hospitals have not entered into many joint venture partnerships. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, may be the wakeup call hospitals need to consider more integrated relationships that strengthen alignment. In the latest NIC Leadership Huddle, titled “Skilled Nursing Integration: Will COVID be the Catalyst for Tighter Hospital Partnerships?” health system executives got together to discuss joint ventures with skilled nursing partners. Andre Maksimow, senior vice president, Kaufman Hall, began the discussion by illustrating how a Kaufman Hall client’s discharge pattern has changed over the pandemic. The Northeastern health system, which typically discharges 22,000 Medicare and Medicare Advantage patients annually, sent far fewer patients to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) last year. “It’s a two-order effect, a compound issue,” he explained, pointing out that, on one hand, there was “less volume coming out of the hospital,” and on the other, “less going to skilled nursing versus home health.” Skilled nursing providers in the area are currently seeing a 25% reduction in overall discharges.
The pandemic has thrust healthcare for seniors into the spotlight. The latest NIC Leadership Huddle event, titled, “Value-Based Care: What's in It for Me?” explored how operators and their partners are navigating what is likely to become a new normal: bringing healthcare to seniors where they live. The webinar and discussion explored the argument that–with or without COVID-19–every seniors housing organization must understand how providing access to healthcare services is now a part of their value proposition for both residents and investors.
Senior living providers eagerly await FDA approval of a COVID-19 vaccine and are preparing the logistical plans needed to ensure a fast and efficient process to vaccinate residents. In the meantime, robust testing remains the most effective strategy for protecting residents and staff from widespread infection. To better understand current testing strategies and how they have adapted over time, I spoke with Ed Ward, Vice President of Operations, Kisco Senior Living to learn more about their innovative testing program.
2020 has been a challenging year. The seniors housing and care sector was thrust into an adrenaline-fueled, 24/7 pitched battle to protect millions of America’s most vulnerable citizens from the deadly COVID-19 global pandemic. Leaders across the sector have been challenged by regulatory inconsistencies, sweeping changes in public policy, an intense media spotlight, evolving consumer attitudes, changes in healthcare delivery, the implementation of new technology, mental and physical health concerns of staff and residents, and uncertainty in capital markets – just to name a few.