SAN DIEGO — A new analysis makes a case for senior living operators to leverage the value of their settings to work with payers and healthcare providers to improve resident health and save the healthcare system money.

“Residential care settings … have a lot of embedded value,” Anne Tumlinson, founder and CEO of ATI Advisory, said at the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care Spring Conference. “You already have a stream of dollars coming into that setting for people who are paying privately for housing with services. You have a location where there are a lot of high-need people living in one spot together, and the medical services resources that you need to manage the population … aren’t as intense because you have all of these efficiencies already in place and because you already have people who are there doing things that are of value to support the needs of this population.”

ATI data found that integrating healthcare services such as primary care physicians and nurse practitioners into senior living communities could reduce emergency department visits and inpatient hospital stays. Utilization rates at an assisted living community using an integrated care model were more than 50% lower compared with an assisted living community that did not provide healthcare, the researchers found. And incorporating a nurse practitioner and case manager into an assisted living community’s operation could reduce the number of inpatient hospital admissions from 430 admissions per 1,000 residents per year to 300 admissions per 1,000 residents per year, the analysis showed.

“The data reveal a tremendous opportunity to reduce hospital-based healthcare services that put seniors’ health at risk and drive costs upward,” Tumlinson said. “Putting housing and healthcare under the same roof promises better coordination and results.”

Senior living operators don’t need to provide care directly, NIC President and CEO Brian Jurutka said. Rather, they can partner with a primary care or medical services organization.

“The seniors housing community has the expertise that healthcare leaders need at a pivotal moment in healthcare, he said. ATI’s research, Jurutka added, “is more evidence that the time for the seniors housing community to embrace partnerships with healthcare leaders is now.”

The NIC meeting continues through Friday. See more coverage under Related Articles, below.

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