Nine of the biggest senior living companies are working with Harvard Medical School researchers to examine the sector’s role in the changing healthcare system.
Brookdale Senior Living (NYSE:BKD), Atria Senior Living, Elmcroft Senior Living, Emeritus Corporation (NYSE:ESC), Erickson Living, HCP, Inc. (NYSE:HCP), Health Care REIT, Inc. (NYSE:HCN), Sunrise Senior Living, and Ventas, Inc. (NYSE:VTR) have all pitched in to create a $150,000 Assisted Living Sector Healthcare Policy Research Fund.
“This support allows us to examine what role senior living providers have in the new models of care that have emerged under health care reform,” David Grabowski, PhD, a professor of health care policy at HMS who is leading the research study, said in a statement.
The research is based on the premise that senior living community residents often need an array of health and supportive services in order to maintain the best quality of life, but many times they receive fragmented care from multiple providers and payers.
This can result in unnecessary healthcare expenditures and lower quality of care, so Grabowski and his team will examine whether providing more comprehensive, coordinated services in the senior living sector reduces the need for Medicare-reimbursed services and Medicaid-financed nursing home care.
The United States’ ability to meet the needs of its aging population is an important political, economic, clinical, and social imperative, says Will Clark, Brookdale’s senior vice present of strategy and brand, and a member of the HMS Health Care Policy Advisory Council.
“Harvard’s reputation for tackling some of health care’s biggest challenges and generating meaningful insights that shape our nation’s policy is unparalleled,” said Clark. “We are confident Dr. Grabowski and his colleagues’ research will be influential in determining the appropriate role senior living can and should play in our evolving health care system.”
Goals of the research initiative include creating awareness for the potential senior living has to positively impact the health, well-being, and overall cost of care for seniors; identifying barriers to creating more integration among senior living and the healthcare system; influencing policy; and identifying innovative models that integrate senior living with the healthcare system, says Brookdale.
The two-phase study will begin with analyzing the role of assisted living in new payment-delivery models, and presenting a conceptual model of how an intergrated model might work, as well as the opportunities and challenges associated with such an approach. Then, with the results of the first phase as a foundation, the second phase of the project will consist of primary data work and potentially the development of a pilot program.
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Brookdale has previously taken part in a pilot deploying the INTERACT program in senior living settings after winning a $7.3 million grant in partnership with the University of North Texas Health Science Center from an Affordable Care Act initiative funding healthcare innovators.
Written by Alyssa Gerace