In the growing and evolving value-based health care world, “strategic upstream and downstream partnerships are vital for survival,” said Joseph Kiernan, chief strategy officer at Ocean Healthcare, at the recent NIC Spring Conference. Traditional health care providers such as hospitals, home health companies, and skilled nursing facilities have been building partnership networks for years. Seniors housing providers have typically been a lesser part of these networks, but many operators who attended the conference educational sessions are considering integrating health care services into their communities.
One way for seniors housing operators to get started is to invite local medical service providers to attend to patients at the community itself. Even if a company doesn’t fully share medical risk via a Medicare Advantage plan, having doctors provide services in the community can benefit doctors, operators, and residents, according to many speakers at the conference.
Benefits of senior housing companies partnering with medical service providers may include:
- Patients and families like having a one-stop shop for medical professionals selected by people they trust, and don’t mind narrowing their networks, said Brian Cloch, currently CEO of Transitional Care Management, speaking about his experience at Pathway Senior Living;
- Doctors like being able to dictate nutrition, exercise, and other so-called social determinants of health, which of course are services that seniors housing communities offer, said John Rijos, CEO of Chicago Pacific Founders;
- Operators benefit because doctors will recommend to their patients that they move into their partner community, said Rijos.
For larger companies, another option is to acquire outright some or all of a medical practice. As Lynne Katzmann, CEO of Juniper Communities pointed out during her discussion on I-SNPs (Institutional Special Needs Medicare Advantage Plans), one excellent way to realize profit from the savings generated from care services in a seniors housing community is by owning a Medicare-certified provider. Other conference speakers also own physician groups: Chicago Pacific Founders owns several physicians groups who participate in Medicare shared savings models, Marquis Companies has a physicians subsidiary, and Presbyterian Homes and Services recently announced a 50% acquisition of a local geriatric medical group.
In selecting partners, providers warn however that it is important to carefully vet prospective partners to make sure they provide excellent care. “Any partner in your community is your reputation,” said Mindy Cheek, vice president of marketing for Greystone, in her session at the conference.
By Katie Roper, Catenary Consulting, Katie@catenaryconsulting.com