Buckner Retirement Collaborates with Large Health System to Promote Wellness

Buckner Retirement Services aims to bring best-in-market health and wellness services to residents at Ventana by Buckner, its $140 million continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in North Dallas.

Buckner is partnering with Baylor Scott & White Health to collaborate at Ventana by Buckner when it opens later this year, Ventana by Buckner Executive Director Chuck Childress told Senior Housing News.

The Buckner-Baylor Scott & White collaboration is another example of the growing trend of senior living operators partnering with health systems to bring health care and services directly to seniors where they live, creating a customized living experience. Ventana by Buckner wants to be at the head of the pack.

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“The future of senior living is about collaboration in all aspects of wellness,” Childress said.

The 12-story, 325-unit Ventana building will also include programming from noted wellness organization Cooper Wellness Strategies, multiple dining concepts by celebrated chef and restaurateur Stephan Pyles and a collaboration with a lifelong learning program offered by Southern Methodist University (SMU).

Buckner Retirement Services is an affiliate of Buckner International, a global faith-based ministry that serves more than 350,000 people each year in Texas and six countries abroad. Baylor, Scott & White is the largest nonprofit health system in Texas. It offers a full continuum of care across 50 hospitals and more than 1,000 access points including flagship academic medical centers in Dallas and Temple, Texas.

The relationship between Buckner and Baylor Scott & White dates back to Buckner’s founding in 1879. Founder R.C. Buckner was also one of the founders of the Texas Baptist Sanitarium — better known today as Baylor University, Childress told SHN.

Because of that history and Baylor Scott & White’s recognition as a health care leader in the Dallas market, working together on Ventana was a natural fit.

“During our planning stages for Ventana, Buckner Retirement Services reached out to Baylor Scott & White with a proposal, and our memorandum of understanding grew from there in order to provide our members with elite health care that they’ve already trusted in Dallas for years,” Childress said.

Whole body wellness

The partnership will focus on medical and spiritual care. A Baylor Scott & White geriatrician specializing in palliative care will serve as the center’s medical director for long-term care and skilled nursing residents. Baylor Scott & White chaplains will offer spiritual care to residents, serve as liaisons to community groups to enrich the lives of seniors, and work at Ventana to build a comprehensive spiritual care program featuring group activities, opportunities for worship, and provide holistic care services for residents, families and staff.

Buckner Retirement Services

Ventana by Buckner residents will have access to two Baylor Scott & White home health service lines: Signature Medicine, an enhanced health care program emphasizing personalized service and individual attention; and HouseCalls, where physicians, nurse practitioners and will travel to Ventana to treat residents directly.

The chaplain and medical director are already in place, developing their programs. One of the first key metrics the partnership will monitor will be engagement with residents in Ventana’s independent living component.

The medical director will be an essential component to the program’s success, Childress told SHN.

“[The medical director’s] expertise is essential in helping us drive the highest levels of quality. Within our partnership there will be a high level of involvement and communications with teams on the health services side,” he said.

Childress is also open to the possibility for the health system partnership to work in conjunction with Ventana’s other partnerships, which can only serve to further enrich the resident experience.

“I believe that each member that lives at Ventana has unique needs and wants. We’re striving to customize the [resident] experience as much as we can and not put them in a box,” he said.

Trend gains momentum

The health care industry’s shift from acute care in a centralized setting to emphasizing wellness and prevention where people live has operators rethinking care delivery and responding to new payment dynamics. Collaborations with health systems are one result of this shift.

For senior living providers, these collaborations hold the potential to extend length of stay and increase resident satisfaction by supporting their health and wellness for longer periods of time. For the health systems, the partnerships could help support value-based care efforts, reducing overall costs by keeping their patient populations out of the emergency room and other expensive settings.

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.

GenCare Lifestyle, an industry leaders in wellness-focused senior living operations, announced a partnership with MultiCare, a nonprofit health care organization headquartered in Tacoma, Washington. 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.”
In what is arguably the most noteworthy example of integrating 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.

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