As an outside influencer to the long-term care space, I’ve discovered a rising trend in healthcare marketing like I’ve never seen before in my 13.5 years (and 10–11 years in infographics, specifically) in the marketing space. Of particular interest to me is the senior living arena. I’ve noticed several trends influencing patient quality as a result of the economic status in the business of long-term healthcare. Unfortunately, there is a rising tide in nursing homes — with specific regard to overspending, waste and improper Medicaid reimbursement. What can be done?
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. For those who do not understand all of the nuance in the long-term care industry, it’s essential that we connect with people on a visual, emotional level before trying to bridge the gap in our data findings. Infographics seem to be just the delivery vehicle for this powerful message at a critical juncture within this industry.
Telling the story
To see what I mean, please take a look at the infographic here from Prime Source Healthcare Solutions. In this visual way, we can convey information to the average person in a way they understand. As we all know too well, the story starts with this premise: More than half of Americans will need some form of long-term care in their lives. In fact, 1 in 7 people over the age of 65 will need to rely on extended care for over five years, making the need for quality care even more important.
In other well-recognized post-acute trends, costs are rising, yet the quality of nursing home care may be suffering. The economy for U.S. nursing care will reach more than $737 billion by 2026; however, nursing homes have experienced peak record closures over the last 2 decades. At one point, 44% of U.S. patient beds failed to meet fire and health standards. Furthermore, labor costs are rising. There is an extreme shortage of skilled caregivers in our current economic stage. Paying overtime to limited staff only comes by default, but facilities are being left with few choices but to offer higher wages to attract talent. Either way, labor costs rise — as cutting back on staff would translate into decreasing quality of care.
Coincidentally, 60% of nursing home residents received public assistance around the time it was found that 44% of U.S. patient beds failed to meet fire and health standards in 1965. Today, that number has risen to 67%. In 2018, there were 52 million citizens aged over 65. By 2060, that number will practically double. Who is paying for their care?
Medicaid and Medicare contribute to the equation, but they also do equal — if not more — damage along the way. Here’s how it works: Medicare pays for the patient’s first 20 days of long-term, and then they subsidize the cost of days 21–100. After that, on the 101st day, the patient is responsible for $50,000-$100,000 annually, depending on the facility’s fees. Once the patient diminishes their assets, Medicaid will kick in to cover the remaining balance.
Partnering with Prime Source
After collaborating with Prime Source Healthcare Solutions and taking my industry knowledge into account, I believe maintaining a high standard of resident treatment and care should be atop every priority. Michael Greenfield, whose background is extensive in the field of long-term care, has recognized a gap in the post-acute care industry. Greenfield is the CEO of Prime Source Healthcare Solutions and, to continue sustainability in the changing post-acute care industry, brought together experts in specific disciplines to provide effective best-practice, cost-management solutions that empower owners and operators to optimize service delivery and reduce costs while increasing quality.
According to Greenfield, “Our team collaborates with facility administrators, operators and food service, clinical and procurement directors to continually develop best practice solutions and cost performance pathways specific to the needs of clients. Add in our abilities to maximize vendor contracts, best practice procurement management and other facility-focused services, Prime Source Healthcare Solutions provides a fresh and flexible perspective in a rapidly changing industry.”
It begins with cost management.
To business leaders in the industry: improve your efficiency. Carefully collect, evaluate and report your spending data. This can be implemented in simple ways, such as making more frequent deliveries to reduce excess inventory and free up cash.
Overall, nursing homes are struggling for an array of reasons, but there are many ways to make long-term care obtainable and comfortable for the resident.
A new way forward
Greenfield and Mark Zimmet are both recognized and trusted leaders in the post-acute care market. Together with Josh Silverberg and a network of like-minded long-term care procurement professionals, they developed and launched SHOPP, the Society for Healthcare Organization Procurement Professionals, a new educational organization to ensure the success of the procurement professional and increase their role in long-term care facilities.
Brian Wallace is the founder and president of NowSourcing, an industry-leading infographic design agency based in Louisville, KY, and Cincinnati, OH, collaborating with companies that range from small businesses to Fortune 500s. NowSourcing is the go-to resource for visual storytelling in the crypto / blockchain market, representing numerous cryptocurrency-related publications, ICOs, and others getting press and funding in the space. Brian also runs #LinkedInLocal events all over the country, hosts the Next Action Podcast, and has been named a Google Small Business Advisor for 2016–present.