CCRC Boosts Referrals After Expanding Services Beyond Walls

A CCRC in an Arizona town with a dense senior population is branching out into the community offering services that are helpful for consumers and also increase the provider’s presence and potential referral base.

La Posada at Park Centre, a not-for-profit Life Care CCRC in Green Valley, Ariz., made the decision to start expanding services outside their community’s walls to fill gaps in service and fulfill unmet needs through a community connection center. The CCRC is one of the largest employers in Green Valley, which was designed as a retirement destination and had an 72% 65-and-older population as of 2010, according to U.S. Census data.

The community’s efforts have resulted in making more than 700 connections to the wider community and an increase in referrals to La Posada services, according to Steve Kolnacki, the community’s director of health services, during a Spirit of Innovation Awards presentation at the 2013 LTC & LINK Conference in July.

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While the CCRC already is home to about 700 residents, Kolnacki says they know the CCRC lifestyle isn’t for everyone.

“Not every resident in Green Valley will want to move [to La Posada]—they’ll want to stay at home,” Kolnacki says. “We decided to look into what has done well on campus and what could be farmed out into the community [at large].”

The goal, he says, was to do something that would help people not even enter an acute care center, and help them be more proactive and assisted with their lifestyle out in the community. The main thought is to increase downstream referrals to La Posada and establish a wider community presence, with future plans to establish fee-based services for transportation, geriatric assessment, balance screening, navigation, home evaluations, and home health care.

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“We’re starting to brand La Posada not just as a place for rich people to go to retire in the community, but also that it’s there for the community,” says Kolnacki.

About a year ago, the CCRC got together with other local nonprofits after identifying a gap between services that organizations provided, and public knowledge about those services and how to access them.

“We thought there was need for virtual hub/communication center to link everyone,” Kolnacki says. Initial reactions from other nonprofits were mixed, but La Posada decided to move forward on its own by renting office space in a busy shopping plaza with lots of foot traffic.

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The center, called Connect, provides front-office space that La Posada staffs with someone who can help connect visitors with resources. There’s also event space that other nonprofits can utilize for educational classes and health screenings along with other possible activities, in addition to office space in the back.

Connect functions as a hub for marketing and sales—which Kolnacki points to as something necessary to cover costs—as well as a hub for community partners to offer information about their services.

“We’re finding that it creates new services,” he says of Connect. One screening offered is for balance, and the equipment produces color-coded reports depending on the level of someone’s balance.

“Many fall into the [intermediary level] and there’s no balance class in Green Valley to assist that,” says Kolnacki. “We might create a small fee for service balance class, hosted on [La Posada’s] campus. It gets people on campus, and it’s something we already do for residents but are now bringing out to the community.

Another initiative being explored is for navigation services, geared toward adult children who don’t live in the area but who want care and lifestyle coordination for their elderly parents, whether it’s figuring out levels of care needs, medical billing, transportation to doctors’ appointments.

The center is in the process of applying for two different grants totaling about $200,000 and is slated to begin offering new fee-based services in September 2013. While La Posada is currently footing the bills for the center, the uptick in recognition and a broader referral base could easily be worth it, according to Kolnacki, although the CCRC is open to partnering with other organizations to fill gaps in community services for seniors.

“When you put people in the same room, are open and start talking, then things happen,” Kolnacki says. “That’s the concept: put everyone in the same room and start talking about what’s needed [and] you generate a lot of good ideas.”

Written by Alyssa Gerace

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