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.
Two operators and a broker shared their approach to providing healthcare and participating in value-based care models. Each vignette was followed by live commentary from Jim Lydiard, vice president, Strive Health, and Amy Kaszak, president of Special Needs Plans, AllyAlign.
Kaszak, pointing to exploding healthcare costs and the expansion of value-based models, said, “As hospitals, therapy, primary care, home health, and skilled providers adapt to new payment models and incentives, senior housing communities–even those who do not bill for Medicare services–will have opportunities to engage in value-based relationships.”
Jonathan R. Cook, president and CEO, LifeSpire of Virginia, an operator of four CCRCs (or life plan communities), with 1,450 residents across the Commonwealth, walked through several key advantages of a recent partnership with AllyAlign. He pointed out that every hospital readmission takes up about five hours of a staff nurse’s time, filling out paperwork as residents are admitted and then returned. The new partnership has significantly decreased readmissions. Cook said, “Being able to take that five hours, over 30% of readmissions, and put those nurses and those team members back on the floor to provide more direct care – huge win for our clinical teams.”
Another advantage for Cook has been the implementation of advanced telehealth tech. Residents, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, fear making trips to the doctor, and this innovation allows them to receive the same level of care, while staying safe at home. Cook said, “By having one provider unite the care coordination on our campuses, it’s going to create better outcomes, better care management, and better care transitions for our residents. We believe that’s going to reduce costs, it’s going to reduce heartache, it’s going to reduce the anxiety that those residents and families have as they age and need more care programs and services.”
Kaszak, who is very familiar with the LifeSpire model, summarized, “The primary care team, in partnership with the community team, delivers the value, and the Medicare Advantage plan pays for the value and value-added services. Value-based payments go both to the primary care team and to the community.”
Tim Nelson, executive director, Mountain View Retirement, a senior living community in Tucson, Arizona, has seen significant benefits in a partnership with CareMore Health. “We’ve been able to retain our residents longer, give them a happier, healthier life while they’ve been with us, and we’ve also been able to build even stronger community partnerships, with our skilled nursing facilities, and even with the hospitals and different local physicians’ groups.” His community has seen a decrease in hospital readmissions, dropping from 16 percent down to 6.2 percent.
Nelson said, “We’ve been able to do direct admits from our assisted living and memory care, and sometimes even our independent living, straight to the skilled nursing facility and back to us.” CareMore staff are also always available to help facility staff, even when they’re not onsite. “We can call our providers and their support staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Nelson. Being able to showcase those abilities has been “a huge asset” when touring prospective new residents and their families.
Shane Connor, vice president-Senior Housing Group, Bull Realty offered an investor’s perspective on the integration of value-based care in senior housing. He sees multiple benefits. On recruitment and occupancy rates, he said, “The prospective resident, and certainly their family are ever-more aware of healthcare now than they have been, with COVID.” He said that being able to show integration of value-based care – or third-party partnerships – is now a competitive differentiator.
Healthcare integration also promises to significantly improve length of stay, which will boost occupancy rates. Connor also sees an advantage on staffing, as onsite or visiting clinical staff reduce burdens on facility staff, particularly with higher acuity residents. That can reduce costs. On valuations, Connor explained, “If you’re evaluating a group that implements value-based care, or is embracing value-based care, you’re going to be more confident that they’re going to keep people healthy and be able to keep those beds full. From a valuation standpoint, if I’ve maybe held this facility for five or six years, and we can show the impact that the value-based integration had, on the occupancy, on the bottom-line financials, then when I go to take that out to market for another prospective buyer, you may be able to command a higher dollar, a higher valuation.”
You can register to attend upcoming NIC Leadership Huddles, including both the live webinars as well as the optional, first come, first served participation in peer-to-peer discussions, within the Events tab on www.nic.org. Registrants are provided with a recording of the event, compliments of NIC, and our generous sponsors and partners.
The National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to support access and choice for America’s seniors by providing data, analytics, and connections that bring together investors and providers.
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