Why Value Based Care is a Competitive Advantage in Senior Living

Going by the description alone, it’s clear why value based care might have an edge on previous models: It’s medical care reimbursement based on the quality and cost of the service provided. Even more interesting, though, is value based care’s ability to deliver a competitive business advantage to senior housing providers.

Just what is value based care? It’s easiest to start by explaining what it is not. In recent years the medical fee-for-service model of reimbursing providers for health care has doled out incentives for those who “do.” Those who see more patients, order more tests, perform more procedures — they will see greater compensation.

Value-based medicine on the other hand rewards those who produce definable outcomes, delivering effective treatments and proven medicine to patients who make informed choices. The government likes the idea. The Department of Health and Human Services wants to see 30 percent of Medicare payments tied to quality or value based medicine by the end of 2016 and 50 percent by the end of 2018.

For senior housing operators willing to deliver such care, or to partner with medical practitioners who do take this route, value based care can offer a competitive edge.

Stable occupancy.

Because value based care rewards physicians based on the quality of care, advocates says, patients are more likely to receive safe, appropriate and effective care. By using evidence-based medicine and proven treatments, doctors and hospitals are better able to ensure patients’ wellness over time.

For senior housing operators, this creates a potential market advantage. Simply put, healthier residents equate to lower turnover rates. In a competitive market, one in which every empty residence  represents a tick mark in the minus column, the ability to maintain occupancy through greater wellness can be a significant advantage.

Less turnover.

Senior housing staffers are always under pressure. It’s a challenging work environment with long hours, complex tasks and multiple responsibilities. As a result, the industry is plagued with a notoriously high turnover rate. That’s a competitive disadvantage, as operators find themselves frequently replacing staff and training new employees.

Value based care changes the equation considerably. High-acuity patients demand more time and attention, stretching staff thin and ultimately causing serious retention issues. By promoting resident wellness, the new model of care – based on proven techniques and measurable success rates – can lessen the severity of resident maladies, help control ongoing conditions and ultimately put a check to rampant turnover by improving the staff’s job satisfaction in the workplace.

Happy families.

Senior housing operators compete not just for the business of potential residents, but also for the steady support of family members. Those who can claim the constant backing of adult children have a distinct competitive edge over those who cannot.

Value based care includes, among other things, the close coordination of services among medical professionals and also the integration of loved ones into the care continuum. One way to help ensure quality is to involve the family, and that’s a good thing for senior housing. Integration of family into the medical care scenario helps create a connection between housing provider and adult children; it helps ensure family members have peace of mind regarding the experience mom or dad is having. That gives the provider a competitive edge in a marketplace in which adult children are often the decision-makers in establishing a parent’s housing choice.

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