Lifespark Adds Emergency Response Services as Part of Larger Value-Based Care Efforts

Lifespark has bolstered its services in a move aimed at cutting down on unnecessary urgent care and hospital visits and meeting demand for more value-based care arrangements.

St. Louis Park, Minnesota-based Lifespark has added in-home urgent response services to its Lifespark Complete program that it has built over the past 20 years, according to Founder and CEO Joel Thiesen. The company on June 25 named Peter Carlson vice president of acute response services in conjunction with the move.

The move is meant to help address “growing market demand to integrate ER or more urgent-level care into value-based efforts,” Thiesen noted in a press release.


Through its new urgent response team, Lifespark can in a resident’s home provide much of what an emergency room doctor could provide in a hospital, including x-rays, lab work, EKGs and sutures. The overall goal is to bolster and add to the number of services that Lifespark already provides.

“We are the EMS system,” Thiesen said. “We can either deal with that over the phone, we can do a telehealth visit, or we can actually pick and send people out urgently into the home.”

Thiesen added the response team knows a resident’s medical records and can use that to determine when they don’t actually need to go to the hospital. That is beneficial for older adults, who are at risk for worse outcomes when they go to the emergency room, studies have shown over the years.


To date, the program has mostly been used by residents living in Lifespark’s portfolio of 40 communities and three skilled nursing facilities. Thiesen added the company is currently working with Dispatch Health for home health services.

The company also has its own primary care division.

For residents in health plans from insurers such as BlueCross BlueShield, Medicare Advantage or dual eligible plan, there is no additional cost for services, according to Thiesen.

“We’ve decided that it’s more important for us to do the right thing and build a global risk model than it is monetizing one part of our arsenal,” he said. “We believe everything should be in one bundle.”

Thiesen said since its rollout, the program has been well received so far from both residents and their family members, and there is plenty of opportunity for growth ahead. How that growth will present itself is still up in the air, as the program is still new.

“We have some big ideas about how this complements the rest of our growth, both locally and nationally,” Thiesen said. “I’d say the ideas, and the possibilities are there to do it with other populations in campuses that are managed by us and other populations, outside campuses, in the online community where people need most.”

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