Pandemic underscores impact of social determinants of health Before the pandemic hit three months ago, one of the hottest industry topics was the social determinants of health. Recognition has been growing over the last several years that a huge amount of healthcare costs is driven by people’s lives outside of the doctor’s office. Factors such as food insecurity, isolation, and lack of access to services are just a few of the social elements that contribute to healthcare outcomes. A frail elder without social support is unlikely to manage the intricacies of a complex healthcare system.
Today’s news, dominated every day by the COVID-19 pandemic, is often centered on the impact of this virus on seniors living in skilled nursing and seniors housing communities. While an ocean of print is lapping at every front page in the world, regulators and policy makers have rushed to enact new measures to protect frail elders, who are most susceptible to this disease. The resulting disruption that is occurring, and which we see reflected in every news outlet, will have a lasting impact on the sector.
With the recent change in policy around Medicare reimbursement for telehealth services, and the escalating pace of the spread of the coronavirus, seniors housing operators can use support for telehealth as a way to keep residents healthy to maintain census, and also as a sales tool for future move-ins. As a follow-on to the NIC Spring Conference panel discussion on telehealth, experts shared their thoughts on specific steps seniors housing communities can take both during the COVID-19 emergency and also on an ongoing basis.