Increasing Senior Housing Resident Retention with Value Based Healthcare

While “value based healthcare” may have started out as a buzzword for healthcare reform in the U.S., time has come to show that it’s more than just a passing conversation. This outcome-based approach is gaining momentum and is changing the way that CMS is looking at reimbursement for senior care.

Beyond reimbursement rates and requirements, senior care executives can look to value based healthcare practices as a way to increase resident retention across all levels of care. In fact, if medical professionals start to be compensated on healthy patient outcomes rather than the number of tests performed, seniors throughout the country could benefit by being able to age in place longer and with a higher quality of life.

Decreased hospitalizations

Unexpected health crises can take seniors out of their preferred home at a senior living community and into a hospital for days or weeks at a time. However, a value based approach to care encourages physicians and medical professionals to provide preventative care and identify chronic or acute conditions before they reach a point where hospitalization is required. When residents are healthy and not forced to be moved to higher levels of care to treat otherwise preventable conditions, resident retention remains stable for senior housing providers.

Fortunately, it appears as though the trend towards reducing preventable hospitalizations is increasing in prevalence across America. In 2015, according to the 2015 National Senior Profile by America’s Health Rankings, preventable hospitalizations were down by 9% for every 1,000 Medicare beneficiaries. That translates to an additional 9% of seniors able to remain at their senior care communities of choice for longer.

Increased resident independence

Value based healthcare brings with it the hope of decreased falls and increased independence for seniors in care communities. With geriatricians and other medical professionals tuned in to decreased range of motion and strength sooner than later, seniors are able to reap the benefits of outpatient therapy sessions and endurance training before they are unable to successfully transfer on their own. Fall prevention technology paired with early intervention can keep seniors on their feet and in their preferred senior care community – which translates to more stable resident retention for the facility.

Increased resident choice

Seniors who are under the care of geriatricians who focus on preventative care and value based healthcare may be able to make healthy decisions about their own futures longer than seniors who have acute medical changes. Through observation and communication with senior facility staff, senior care professionals might be able to decrease the chance of confusion onset due to stroke; or, trained geriatricians can notice signs of Alzheimer’s Disease in enough time for the senior to be an active part of care team decisions before the disease progresses. With resident choice at the forefront of most senior care communities, the opportunity for seniors to age in place by their own decision might be the best resident retention solution for everyone.

Value based healthcare can have positive effects on resident retention due to the focus on keeping seniors out of the hospital in the first place. Time will tell if the senior care industry will embrace this opportunity.

Do you currently work with a value based healthcare model? If so, what obstacles and benefits have you noticed for your residents, your staff, and your bottom line?

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