Alisha Sanders

Collaboration between housing providers and Medicare managed care plans, including plans for dually eligible beneficiaries, is the most feasible way in the short term to finance affordable housing plus services, according to a report shared Thursday by the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston.

Such collaboration would take the form of direct partnerships or relationships through an intermediary mechanism, according to researchers.

“While this approach would not provide payment coverage for all residents in a housing community, it is a starting point that could be leveraged with other funding sources until a more comprehensive funding solution could be created,” wrote the authors of the 35-page report, titled “Exploring Financing Options for Services in Affordable Senior Housing Communities.”

Center staff researchers and researchers from the National Well Home Network and the Harvard Medical School Department of Health Care Policy reached their conclusions after working together for 12 months. During that time, they reviewed potential financing options to support housing-plus-services models, studying existing research and policies as well as interviewing subject-matter experts in managed care and accountable care organizations, Medicare and Medicaid policy programs, federal and state health policy offices, healthcare providers and affordable housing providers.

“We know the value and impact of affordable housing with services for low-income older adults based on the results of multiple evaluations,” LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston Director of Housing and Services Policy Research Alisha Sanders said. Benefits include lower hospital usage, lower Medicare expenditure growth, higher-value healthcare usage, success in reaching high-risk populations, and fewer nursing home transfers, according to the report.

“This report will help policymakers and providers identify ways they can support spreading this proven model,” Sanders said.

The 35-page report and an eight-page summary are available online.

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