As value-based care models place greater emphasis on individual resident outcomes — and less importance on the particular care setting — partnerships with senior housing providers could represent a major opportunity for the beleaguered skilled nursing industry.
That was the main message from National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) president and CEO Brian Jurutka as he opened his organization’s 2019 spring conference in San Diego.
“The needs of the residents really are pushing for some of those partnerships,” Jurutka said.
Nearly 3 million older Americans live in senior housing or care facilities, Jurutka noted, and many require assistance with a variety of daily tasks. As the baby boom population ages, that cohort will drive a significant portion of the nation’s overall health care spending, presenting an opening for SNFs and senior living operators to find savings in the overlap.
“That’s the collaboration opportunity between seniors housing, skilled nursing, and the broader health care ecosystem,” Jurutka said.
Jurutka specifically called out Institutional Special Needs Plans (I-SNPs), special in-house Medicare Advantage options that cover long-term care residents, as well as strengthening partnerships between hospitals and referral partners and bringing specialized health care services into the senior housing setting.
Given estimates that about a third of all health care spending can be classified as extraneous or wasteful, Jurutka estimated that such partnerships could save up to $700 billion. In addition, fostering such collaborations — for example, a full continuum of health from assisted living to skilled nursing and hospice care — could provide a competitive advantage for players at all points along the spectrum, making the collaboration piece a financial consideration as well.
“Investors need to care,” Jurutka said.
But he emphasized that the benefits to residents are clear regardless of any financial upsides.
“It’s looking at it from the experience of the person that’s living and experiencing the health care system,” he said. “How do we better integrate and coordinate that care that results in better outcomes?”
Bob Kramer, NIC’s founder and strategic advisor, agreed.
“Even if there were no dollar savings, we know the level of frustration of the American consumer with their health care. It’s huge,” Kramer said. “The opportunity, first and foremost, is to have a more satisfied consumer.”
NIC’s annual spring event attracts about 1,700 representatives of investors, operators, and vendors in the senior housing and care space. Check out Skilled Nursing News this week and next for all the latest updates from San Diego.