older woman opening door to visitor

Five Star Senior Living independent living, assisted living and memory care residents will receive on-demand acute care via the operator’s collaboration with DispatchHealth, a provider of in-home medical services, Five Star announced Thursday. 

Through the program, Five Star residents can receive at-home treatment for viral or bacterial infections, asthma attacks, wounds, bed sores and pressure ulcers, and minor fractures and sprains, according to the firms. In a pilot study conducted earlier this year at select Five Star independent living and assisted living communities, the program helped reduce emergency department visits and increased access to immediate care, the companies said. The pilot also found that program services are covered by most insurance plans, with more than 85% of Five Star residents using the services reporting no out-of-pocket expenses.

“We believe that adding DispatchHealth’s unique care model to expand Five Star’s existing clinical services offering will bring peace of mind to families, knowing that their loved ones may be able to avoid unnecessary and expensive trips to the emergency room, where they could be exposed to more serious illnesses, such as COVID-19,” Five Star President and CEO Katie Potter said in a press release

The DispatchHealth program currently is being used in 25 Five Star communities, and Five Star and DispatchHealth plan to expand the program to more than 40 Five Star communities this year, with further expansion expected in 2022. Additionally, the program has received high scores for resident satisfaction, recording an average net promoter score of 98 out of 100 from Five Star residents.

Five Star residents, executive directors and caregivers all will be able to request DispatchHealth’s services via telephone or website, the firm noted.

“At DispatchHealth, we are excited to team with Five Star and provide for the acute health care needs of its residents across the country,” said DispatchHealth CEO Mark Prather, M.D., MBA. “Research shows unnecessary hospitalizations can be harmful to seniors and that clinical outcomes actually improve when individuals can be cared for in their residence. We believe, whenever possible, it’s best to keep aging adults out of the emergency department and treat their acute medical conditions in the location they feel most comfortable, and at a lower cost, which is what our clinical collaboration with Five Star achieves.”

Earlier this year, Five Star released a new strategic plan to exit the skilled nursing business as well as the management of the 108 communities as it planned a shift in focus to larger senior living communities and stand-alone active adult and independent living communities. During the firm’s third-quarter earnings call in November, Potter noted that the company is focused on transforming its business to provide more concierge services to younger, healthier residents.