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Reducing Medicare costs through integrated health/housing model

March 23, 2017
by Pamela Tabar, Editor-in-Chief
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Are onsite ancillary services like primary care, lab services and social supports worth the investment for senior living communities? One senior living organization is a believer, seeing reduced Medicare costs and improved outcomes by using an integrated model of ancillary services for its residents.

Juniper Communities, with senior living sites in four states, implemented the Connect4Life program, which provides primary care clinics and other services within the senior living setting, including intensive quality measures, close monitoring of medications through integrated pharmacy systems, and wellness programs.

Data drives the outcomes: Each Juniper community documents and tracks more than 90 measures across five domains, including physical health intensities and conditions. A community-wide electronic health record integrates all documentation of care and support services.

Juniper has cut its rehospitalization rates by 80 percent since 2014, with a current rate of just 2.6 percent, far below the national average, according to findings presented at the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care conference this week. Inpatient hospitalizations also dropped by 50 percent compared to other Medicare recipients with similar health conditions.

Focusing on therapy, rehabilitation and wellness services is the key to managing the influx of a new generation of seniors in need of a more comprehensive life care model, notes Juniper CEO Lynne Katzman. “More frail seniors are living longer and managing multiple chronic diseases, but current senior care models—whether rooted in housing or healthcare—aren’t meeting their unique challenges, despite a lot of effort.”

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