The COVID-19 pandemic has thrust healthcare for older adults into the spotlight, making access to services an important part of an operator’s value proposition for both residents and investors, speakers said Wednesday during a National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care “Leadership Huddle” webinar.
Panelists noted that although Medicare Advantage plans have had value-based payment arrangements with nursing home providers for years, the approach is a bit more novel within senior living. But it still provides a host of benefits when it comes to staffing, occupancy and even overall property valuation, they said.
“We’ve found value across the board from our value-based care model over the past three years,” said Tim Nelson, executive director of Tucson, AZ-based Mountain View Retirement Village. “We’ve been able to retain our residents longer, give them a happier, healthier life while they’re with us, and we’ve also been able to reduce our hospital readmissions by 62%. We went from about 16% hospital readmissions down to 6.2%, which is great on the business side of things but even better on the care side of things.”
The community’s model, which includes on-site physician services provided through CareMore Health, has allowed Mountain View to take on a higher level of care within the community, he added. Arizona state law prohibits assisted living communities from administering intravenous antibiotics and other healthcare services, but the firm’s partnership with CareMore has allowed the Mountain View to expand its on-site treatment options.
“Being able to sell that holistic package to prospective residents and their families when they are touring has been a huge asset for us,” he said.
In addition to helping with recruitment, speakers noted, value-based models of care can improve care transitions and reduce anxiety among residents and their families.
“Our retirement community has always been siloed between independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing, and as folks transition to different levels of care, their care team has always changed,” noted Jonathan Cook, president and CEO of LifeSpire of Virginia.
Last year, LifeSpire entered into a value-based care partnership with senior living primary care management firm AllyAlign Health on all of its campuses. “By having one provider unite the care coordination on our campuses, it’s creating better outcomes, better care management and better care transitions for our residents, and we believe that’s going to reduce costs, reduce heartache and reduce anxiety that residents and families have as as they age and need more care programs and services,” Cook added.
Speakers also noted that implementing these models within senior living can add to bottom-line value and likely can provide a host of benefits when it comes to improving occupancy and driving property valuation in the post COVID-19 marketplace.
“When investors are evaluating a transaction or an operator is looking to take over a building, they’re really focused on whether the operator can meet their projections, meet the pro forma, and at the end of the day, whether they can hold this occupancy,” said Shane Connor, vice president of the senior housing group at Bull Realty. “If you’re evaluating a group that has implemented value-based care, you’re going to be more confident that they will keep people healthy and keep those beds full.”