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Senior Living Full Court Press Team Explores Teaching Nursing Facility Model

The Jewish Healthcare Foundation's Seniors Full Court Press Team met virtually January 28 to discuss actionable solutions to the issues plaguing the long-term care system. Experts explored the most promising care and policy options for skilled nursing, housing, and community-living for frail seniors.

Stuart Butler, PhD, Senior Fellow at the Economic Studies of The Brookings Institution, presented The Convergence Center for Policy Resolution Report he led to bring consensus on senior living policy objectives. Butler identified four themes: Reorganizing nursing homes to serve different populations appropriately; better supports for the workforce; advancing opportunities for home-based and community-based care; and realigning the payment and regulatory system to these different models. Butler discussed policy opportunities to achieve these objectives, and he noted that more data and analysis is necessary to test these ideas and inspire confidence in leaders to fund such changes.

The Team then welcomed a panel of senior care experts: Stuart Altman, Former Dean of the Heller School at Brandeis University and former Chairman of the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission; Alice Bonner, PhD, RN, FAAN, Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Center for Innovative Care in Aging of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement; Tricia Neuman, ScD, Senior VP and Executive Director of the Program on Medicare Policy at Kaiser Family Foundation; and Bruce Vladeck, former administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration (now the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). The panel provided their perspectives on the options for reimagining senior living, including reforming Medicare and payment systems to best serve senior groups, the need to package messages for government leaders, and the necessity to better support the workforce.

Lou Woolf, MBA, President and CEO of Hebrew Senior Life, described his organization's renowned research strategies that combine a viable business model with high quality, best practice senior care.

To explore potential for bringing a research and teaching nursing home model to Pennsylvania, JHF COO and Chief Program Officer Nancy Zionts and Terry Fulmer, President and CEO of the John A. Hartford Foundation, presented objectives for a pilot project. JHF's involvement in the PA Regional Response Health Collaborative Program provides a solid foundation. JHF would serve as the project lead and partner with academic institutions, health systems, and skilled nursing facilities to improve access and participation in evidence-based research. This pilot would provide the data needed to demonstrate how enhanced access to clinical skills at the skilled nursing level can improve care quality and cost outcomes.

Moving forward, the Team will further explore opportunities to network across the Commonwealth, build the case for senior living policy change, continue the call to reinvent our long-term care system while continuing to provide our seniors with supports.

To learn more about the need for reimagining senior living, read Karen Feinstein's Pittsburgh Business Times op-ed, "Vaccines won't cure nursing homes' ills."

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