Care Network, 13 CCRCs Form Joint Venture for ACO Edge

An existing care network and a group of 13 Pennsylvania continuing care retirement communities are taking a new approach to creating a competitive edge when it comes to accountable health care for senior residents. 

Anabaptist Providers Group (APG) is forming a joint venture partnership with Convenant Health Network to create an integrated post-acute care delivery system across APG’s 13 founding communities, which the organizations say will save the participating CCRCs both time and money, and help them stay competitive in an evolving health care landscape.

APG was formed in 2001 with members from The Fellowship of Brethren Homes and Mennonite Health Services located in central and eastern Pennsylvania. Pheonix, Ariz.-based Covenant Health Network is a nonprofit post-acute integrated delivery system, encompassing 91 senior care facilities in four states.

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The integrated post-acute care delivery system formed through the joint venture will assure strong partnerships with health systems and payers, demonstrate improved health outcomes, increased patient/client/resident satisfaction and reduced overall cost of care, says Rebecca Neth Townsend, chief strategy officer for Covenant Health Network.

“More than a year ago Anabaptist Group approached Covenant and said, ‘We have this network of providers in Pennsylvania, and we want to do something meaningful to provide quality care and affect population health throughout the whole CCRC community,’” she says. “We wanted to look at how we can help people to be as healthy as they can be throughout the aging process — and the healthier they are the less costly their care will be.”

And thus the joint venture, known as the Covenant Health Alliance of Pennsylvania (CHAPa), was born. 

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CHAPa will also be positioned to invite affiliate nonprofit aging service members to participate in services being delivered. APG’s 13 founding members who will be the first to participate in CHAPa include: Brethren Village, Countryside Christian Community, Fairmount Homes, Frederick Living, Garden Spot Village, Lebanon Valley Brethren Home, Living Branches, Menno Haven, Peter Becker Community, Rockhill Mennonite Community, Tel Hai Retirement Community, United Zion Retirement Community, and Valley View Retirement Community.

The evolving health care reform landscape, which is driving increased affiliations between hospitals and providers, contributed to the need for the new venture, Neth Townsend says, noting that streamlining a post-acute care delivery system throughout a group of communities reduces cost and allows providers to learn from each other and establish best practices.

“It’s really a partnership of all of these organizations as they look to navigate relationships with future Accountable Care Organizations [ACOs],” she says. 

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The intent for funding of CHAPa is to realign purchasing patterns for products and services already being used, which return a higher percentage both back to the network and to the individual providers transforming the network participation to a revenue or contribution center, Covenant says, noting that in the company’s experience these services will pay for the annual operational expenses of the joint venture.

Essentially, Covenant’s role in CHAPa includes acting as a third-party resource.

“We are able to bring in additional expertise when needed,” she says, noting that Covenant brings a framework for looking at quality indicators and making resources available to improve quality when indicated.

“We want to make sure that residents/patients are not going back to the hospital unnecessarily, so a strong care transition management program is important within the network,” she says. “Even as M&A activity among hospitals begins to happen, the expectations of their [post ­acute care] partners really shifts — they expect lower total cost of care, reduced readmissions and improved quality of care.”

Written by Cassandra Dowell

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