Research seeks ways to improve long-term care offerings in reformed healthcare system

If the senior living sector provided more comprehensive, coordinated services, would the need for Medicare-paid services and Medicaid-financed nursing home services be reduced? Harvard Medical School (HMS) and Brookdale Senior Living are teaming up to find out.

The joint effort, made possible through the Assisted Living Sector Healthcare Policy Research Fund established by nine long-term care companies, “allows us to examine what role senior living providers have in the new models of care that have emerged under healthcare reform,” says David Grabowski, PhD, professor of healthcare policy at HMS, who is leading the research.

The study will have two phases. During the first one, investigators will analyze the role of assisted living in new payment-delivery models and will create a conceptual model of how an integrated model might work. They also will examine the opportunities and challenges associated with such an approach. During the second phase, researchers will scrutinize data and perhaps develop a pilot program.

"We are confident Dr. Grabowski and his colleagues' research will be influential in determining the appropriate role senior living can and should play in our evolving healthcare system," says Will Clark, senior vice president of strategy and brand and a member of the HMS Health Care Policy Advisory Council.

The companies funding the initiative with a cumulative contribution of $150,000 are Atria Senior Living, Elmcroft Senior Living, Emeritus Senior LivingErickson Living, HCP, Health Care REIT, Sunrise Senior Living and Ventas. The organizations hope the effort begins discussion among healthcare providers, policy makers, regulators and consumers on the value of assisted living, memory care, continuing care retirement communities and other settings and their role in creating an integrated, outcomes-driven healthcare system. The ultimate goal is to increase the quality of care and decrease unnecessary healthcare spending by addressing the fragmentation that results from having multiple payers and providers caring for the same resident.

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