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Senior Living Finds A Place at the Table in the Healthcare Hairball

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By Dr. Carol McKinley, Vice President of Operations, United Methodist Communities

Senior Living organizations should have a place at the table in post-acute strategy discussions. The challenge is proving their value in this volatile healthcare market. It requires understanding what is important to partners and how you demonstrate your value.

Changing Care Delivery

Care delivery has changed a lot. People are experiencing shorter hospitals stays and going to nursing homes in much sicker states. In sub-acute settings, rehabilitation is required to be brief; and people are going home not fully recovered.

Data collection drives the delivery of care and person-centered care is an expectation; not just a fleeting philosophy. Newly implemented payer models promote effectiveness of care, in an efficient process.

Ultimately, value comes down to proving care effectiveness and efficiency, reflecting stewardship with financial resources. Consistency amongst stakeholders seems to hold true in the following three areas:

  1. Quality outcomes

  2. Return to hospital (RTH) rates

  3. Length of stay (LOS) benchmarks

Creating an overall value proposition is complex.

The United Methodist Story

United Methodist Communities (UMC), a senior care system located in New Jersey, understands this environment well. Over the last several years, they have accepted the care delivery changes, worked to tackle these new challenges, and demonstrated the value they offer.

Their journey to a value proposition used multifarious approaches and has been broken down into the following sections:

  • Evaluating and Responding to the External Environment -- UMC recognized that hospitals were financially suffering from extended lengths of stay beyond the expected DRG timeframe. Utilizing med-par analysis, UMC determined which specific DRGs were most problematic for hospitals.

    Armed with this knowledge, UMC leadership was able to have meaningful conversations with hospital CEOs and CMOs and help their partner hospitals achieve meaningful length of stay improvements.

  • A Review of UMC’s Internal Operation -- Value comes from taking stock of what you do well and identifying what is important to potential partners. UMC, with its 110-year history and rich culture of care and services to their residents and clients, discovered they had much to offer various stakeholders.

  • Taking Risk and Expanding into New Territories -- Over the years UMC took risks, knowing it would be the only way to stay ahead of the volatility in the healthcare environment. This includes participating in “Bundled Payment” initiatives and investing in home and community-based services.

United Methodist Communities’ journey in defining their worth culminated in the development of a strong value proposition, taking and assembling their merits in the form of a Triple Aim Score Card.

This process took several years and required UMC to be creative, nimble, flexible, vocal, and assertive. They accepted a changing world and their need to change along with it. This allowed them to strategically determine their direction.

United Methodist Communities did not wait to be invited to the table. They did the things they needed to do to earn a place at the table.

They have created a comprehensive paper that describes their process and journey. Click here to read the full paper and see the value proposition.

Dr. Carol McKinley is Vice President of Operations at United Methodist Communities. Copyright © 2018 by United Methodist Communities. 

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