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ACO Partnerships in Senior Living

How partnerships with Accountable Care Organizations benefit HSL seniors
ACO Partnerships in Senior Living

The ACO playbook you need today. This is the title of the panel discussion I served on at the recent Senior Living 100 Leadership Conference. Senior Living 100 is the annual destination for the nation’s most progressive senior living organizations, and it was a privilege to represent HSL.

Joining me on the panel were a trio of senior living leaders, who, like us are charged with addressing the monumental changes being fostered by health care and payment reform. We each shared and discussed our respective health care environments, goals, approaches and challenges in creating meaningful relationships with Accountable Care Organizations, or ACOs for short.

The topic of ACOs is front and center for HSL as a very high percent of our residents and patients are in the Medicare population. ACOs, a key provision in the Affordable Care Act, are joint ventures formed by groups of doctors, hospitals, and/or other health care providers, who voluntarily come together to provide coordinated high quality care to the Medicare patients they collectively serve, and agree to do so with specific quality measures and on a defined budget. Through an ACO’s effective care coordination, patients should receive the right care at the right time in the right place—thus providing better outcomes, avoiding unnecessary duplication of services, and spending Medicare’s funds (and our tax dollars) more wisely. When an ACO succeeds, the group of providers shares in the savings it achieves for the Medicare program and for taxpayers—a win-win for all.

For the “playbook” panel discussion, I spoke about the progressive efforts of our health care team to establish highly collaborative and coordinated relationships with ACOs Beth Israel Deaconess Care Organization, Partners Healthcare and Atrius Health. Being a provider of such a broad array of senior health care services, our “playbook” contains an equally wide array of plays.

As the primary caregiver of nearly 2,500 residents and patients in our independent living, supportive housing, assisted living and long-term chronic care programs, we joined the Beth Israel Deaconess Care Organization with these populations in mind. By joining BIDCO, we can provide those patients and residents who choose one of our primary care providers with the exceptional coordinated care we have always known is important, and possibly share in the resulting savings in Medicare spending.

As a post-acute provider, we see our ACO relationships as assisting our fellow Boston health care professionals in improving transitions of care between health care settings, helping the ACOs achieve their quality goals, and helping them manage costs and utilization. In fact, in one of our most important “plays,” we have a dedicated IT staff member, who as the ACO Administrator and Transition Coordinator, ensures that electronic health information gets properly shared and managed between health care settings.

We also have our growing Home and Community-Based Health Care Services, which in addition to primary care, include private duty, adult day health, home health, hospice care, our Therapy House Calls, as well as our Healthy Living Center of Excellence. All of these services help seniors in our care, and those who are patients of our ACO partners, stay healthy and comfortable living in their homes, and do so in a much more cost-effective way than having them seek a hospital setting.

With our unique perspective on ReDefining the Experience of Aging, our broad array of services, and our incredibly talented and committed staff, our “playbook” will continue to overflow with opportunities to work with our current and future ACO partners on the provision of exceptional coordinated care. We are committed to collaborating with them to deliver a coordinated set of services that help seniors in Eastern Massachusetts have the best and healthiest life in the best place.

Louis J. Woolf's picture

About the Blogger

President and CEO, Hebrew SeniorLife

Lou Woolf joined Hebrew SeniorLife in 2009 as President and was elevated to President and CEO in February 2013. Lou is committed to redefining the experience of aging for the thousands of seniors served by HSL’s integrated system of health care, senior living communities, research and teaching, and dedicated to supporting HSL staff’s extraordinary commitment to do exactly that every day. Prior to joining HSL, Lou served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at North Shore Medical Center, the largest community hospital system in Partners Healthcare System. He also spent 10...

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The ACO Playbook is a great way to highlight the service and care that exists as a result of these partnerships. Thank you
Thanks for your feedback, Mary. We're glad you enjoyed the blog!

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