A senior living provider in the Northwest forms partnerships with local healthcare groups to bring medical services to the residents’ doorstep.
Imagine this scenario. A resident falls and breaks her arm. Instead of calling an ambulance to rush her to the hospital or doctor, the staff calls a medical service that provides on-site care of complex conditions. The service arrives with its mobile x-ray equipment, conducts an examination and sets her arm in a cast.
The resident quickly receives the appropriate treatment without ever having to leave the building. There’s no long wait for medical attention and she doesn’t have to undergo the difficult, and often scary, ride in an ambulance.
“It’s a huge advantage,” said Leon Grundstein, founder and CEO at GenCare Lifestyle, a senior living provider in Seattle that’s introducing on-demand medical care. “We’re bringing health services to the residents.”
GenCare Lifestyle is piloting on-site medical care with a program called “Whole Life Connect.” Routine medical services will be provided by MultiCare, a large health system in Washington State. DispatchHealth will offer urgent care, such as for broken limbs, as well as more common conditions.
The program will first be rolled out at GenCare Lifestyle at Point Ruston, the company’s new project in Tacoma. It opens this September.
GenCare Lifestyle at Point Ruston will have 159 units, including 24 memory care suites and 135 apartments for either assisted or independent living. The entire building is licensed for assisted living so residents do not have to move if they need more care.
The $63 million project is part of a new “Town Center” master development in Tacoma that will include restaurants, shops and other amenities.
GenCare Lifestyle operates six senior living properties in the Seattle area.
The company focuses on a wellness model called “Whole Life Living.” It promotes a healthy lifestyle through four facets: healthy culinary offerings; a vitality–fitness program; activities to promote social engagement and mental stimulation; and community involvement through programs with a purpose.
The “Whole Life Connect” program takes the wellness model to the next level by providing access to medical care and preventive health services, said Grundstein. The program will eventually be offered at the other GenCare Lifestyle buildings.
A new model of care
Insurance will cover the cost of most of the services. MultiCare has agreements with the area’s major Medicare Advantage plans, many of which cover GenCare Lifestyle residents.
There is no extra charge for the program which is optional. Residents can still pick their own doctors, and access some or all of the program’s services.
Residents who sign up for the program with MultiCare can receive a wellness visit in the comfort of their home where an assessment and plan is tailored to their needs. “Residents will be counseled on how to improve their health,” said Grundstein.
As a large nonprofit health system with seven hospitals, MultiCare offers a wide range of medical services as well as access to many specialists. MultiCare has a new medical office building underway at Point Ruston, in easy walking distance of the new GenCare Lifestyle project, said Grundstein.
The Point Ruston building will include a medical office staffed by MultiCare doctors and nurses. A schedule is yet to be determined, but Grundstein said the office will have regular hours to make it easy for residents to access the services. “Residents won’t have to spend time traveling to the doctor,” he said.
A gym at the Point Ruston building will be available for rehab services. GenCare Lifestyle has personal trainers on staff who can work with residents after rehab to further improve their fitness level.
GenCare Lifestyle will not receive rent from MultiCare.
Instead of generating direct revenue, the goal of the partnership is to make it easier for residents to access healthcare services in order to keep them out of the hospital and nursing homes, said Grundstein. That will help extend their length of stay at the GenCare Lifestyle properties.
Resident length of stay had already improved because of relationships with area home health and nursing home providers. The new “Whole Life Connect” program should help boost that success even further, said Grundstein.
Asked whether GenCare Lifestyle might follow other seniors living providers and launch its own Medicare Advantage plan, Grundstein said the Seattle area is already covered by a wide range of plans. Besides, he said, “We are not in the insurance business. We want to focus on what we do best.”
Partnerships are important, however, Grundstein emphasized. GenCare Lifestyle partnered with developer Pacific Medical Buildings on the Point Ruston project, as well as on another project.
Pacific Medical is working with MultiCare on its new office project and facilitated GenCare Lifestyle’s introduction to MultiCare. Without those connections, the new in-house medical program might not have come together, said Grundstein. “We were very fortunate.”
June 19, 2019