GenCare Lifestyle, already an industry leader in wellness-focused senior living operations, is launching a health system partnership in one of its communities, with plans to scale.
The partnership will build on the company’s wellness foundation and broaden what the Seattle-based provider can offer its residents, as well as improve their quality of life, founder and CEO Leon Grundstein told Senior Housing News.
GenCare is partnering with MultiCare, a nonprofit health care organization headquartered in Tacoma, Washington. MultiCare is one of Washington state’s largest health systems, offering a comprehensive network of care including hospitals, palliative care and ambulatory services, urgent care walk-in centers, home health and a full network of primary care, urgent care and specialized care providers.
GenCare is also partnering with DispatchHealth, a national provider of on-demand medical care ranging from simple to complex treatments for patients in their homes, and has strong affiliations with skilled nursing groups throughout the region, GenCare Director of Health and Wellness Services Danielle Parker told SHN.
The partnership, dubbed “Whole Health Connect,” is being piloted in GenCare at Point Ruston, a new community in Tacoma, and will be scaled across its entire portfolio by mid-2020. GenCare operates six communities in the Seattle-Tacoma area, and its wellness offering is called “Whole Life Living.”
Mutual relationships with PMB
Whole Health Connect was facilitated through existing relationships between GenCare, MultiCare and San Diego-based developer Pacific Medical Buildings (PMB), Grundstein told SHN.
PMB — which has a portfolio of over 100 health care developments — partnered with GenCare on the Point Ruston development and another community, GenCare Lifestyle at Steel Lake in Federal Way, Washington.
Multicare operates an urgent care facility under their Indigo brand within the Point Ruston master plan, PMB Senior Vice President of Development Jake Rohe told SHN.
While doing due diligence with GenCare on the Point Ruston community, the partners thought that it would make sense to have a discussion with MultiCare to coordinate care between their urgent care and the community, as there would be approximately 200 residents within 250 feet from the urgent care facility.
PMB and GenCare began discussions with MultiCare almost two years ago and discovered a strong alignment, with both sides believing there was a better and more innovative way to care for seniors under a population health mindset.
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“MultiCare jumped all over the opportunity and has been a fantastic partner in defining, developing and eventually implementing the overall strategy,” Rohe said.
PMB was also working with MultiCare on some medical office developments and saw an opportunity for the two companies to work together. Parker has worked closely with MultiCare on developing the program, which is a brand endorser to GenCare’s Whole Life Living program.
A fair number of its residents access medical services or care too late to postpone the transition from independent living to higher care acuities, GenCare found in surveying its communities. The company already had handshake agreements in place with other home health and skilled nursing providers in the region, and saw positive results on a small scale.
MultiCare’s full range of care acuities allows GenCare residents access to what they need on a larger scale, even if a resident’s primary care physician is not within the MultiCare network.
“They can access some services, or the whole umbrella [of care],” Parker said.
Whole Health Connect is founded on three principles:
- Connecting GenCare residents with providers across the health care continuum, making it more convenient for them to access services, and ultimately bringing those services into the home.
- Promoting and maintaining wellness among GenCare residents, eventually extending the average length of stay of residents and promoting quality of life.
- To position GenCare and its communities on the health care continuum, in order to drive health care costs down, and really have an impact on residents’ quality of stay and life.
“If we have happier, healthier residents accessing health care services early in their homes, staying out of hospitals and skilled nursing facilities, we’re impacting readmission rates and health care costs as a whole,” Parker said.
The partnership has no financing mechanism, per se, Grundstein said. Revenues will be generated based on the services residents use, and payment will be through insurance or direct billing.
Most all of the services provided by MultiCare will be Medicare or Medicare Advantage approved so residents don’t have to come out of pocket for these benefits, other than their co-pay, Rohe told SHN.
Extending length of stay
GenCare and MultiCare are still working on the benchmarks to measure to determine Whole Health Connect’s success.
“Multicare has an enormous data analytics team and we’ve just begun to scratch the surface on how we will monitor the pilot,” Parker said.
Internally, GenCare is paying close attention to the average length of stay of its residents, which has already increased from 27 months to 36 months since the Whole Life Living program was launched across its portfolio, Grundstein told SHN. The company also plans to monitor move-outs, particularly the reasons residents choose to leave.
“We expect this number to trend downward,” Parker said.
Point Ruston was selected to pilot the program because it is a new community, which gives GenCare the ability to work out bugs and identify best practices before launching Whole Health Connect to other communities.
“I see [MultiCare] as our partners in wellness,” Parker said. “This aligns perfectly with GenCare’s mission.”
The health care industry’s shift in focus from acute care in a centralized setting to treating people in their homes is creating ripple effects across the senior living market. It is forcing operators to rethink partnerships and collaboration in care delivery, and respond to new payment dynamics.
Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, one of the largest non-profit senior living providers in the U.S., signed an affiliation agreement with non-profit health system Sanford last year. Belmont Village Senior Living and Baptist Health South Florida announced a partnership last March to develop a pipeline of Belmont Village communities across south Florida. The partnership gives Belmont Village access to Baptist Health’s systems, doctors and knowledge base, while Baptist Health has the opportunity to provide health services to Belmont Village residents at higher care levels, Belmont Village CEO Patricia Will told SHN.
And in perhaps the most noteworthy effort to integrate senior living within a larger health system, real estate investment trust Welltower (NYSE: WELL) last year formed a joint venture with nonprofit health system ProMedica to acquire the large portfolio of HCR ManorCare senior living and skilled nursing communities.
Editor’s Note: this story has been updated to add commentary and quotes from Pacific Medical Buildings.