Angela Brandt, ProMedica Senior Care

A plan to collaborate on two, new skilled nursing facilities in the Atlanta area is emblematic of ProMedica Senior Care’s focus on transitions of care as an operational bulwark, the Ohio-based nonprofit’s new president said this week.

In her first media interview since being named the leader of the nation’s fourth-largest nursing home chain, Angela Brandt outlined her vision for the brand’s post-acute service line. She emphasized collaboration both with the organization’s extensive network of hospitals, its physicians and own insurer and with like-minded entities that can help drive value while innovating care.

Brandt comes to the Senior Care division after eight years leading ProMedica Physicians, a  provider group with 130 locations. On Tuesday, her 45th day on the job, she told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News that she’s finding “robust” synergies that transcend the two settings.

“I feel like we’ve all been living in the same space together, but maybe not appreciating each of our perspectives as much as we could,” Brandt said. “I do think there’s a lot of opportunity as we think about the future of the ProMedica Senior Care team to really leverage how we become the partner of choice and how we continue to work through being the best at transitions of care … so we can provide dignity and good-quality clinical care.”

ProMedica Senior Care, formerly HCRManorCare, is the nation’s largest not-for-profit post-acute provider with 335 senior care facilities in 28 states. Brandt succeeds David Parker, who this summer left for an executive position at UnitedHealth Group’s Optum brand.

Under Parker’s leadership, ProMedica last year scooped up nine PowerBack skilled nursing facilities formerly operated by Genesis and made other key moves focused on making its nursing homes the kinds of facilities upstream partners will want to work with in the future.

It also undertook a major hospital-to-skilled nursing conversion with Ohio’s MetroHealth, billing it as the first of several collaborations intended to increase clinical capabilities and attract more medically complex patients or short-term rehab referrals.

Brandt appears satisfied to follow that trajectory, while also looking to address pandemic realities, such as increasing technology adoption and building and renovating in favor of private rooms. The time, she said, is ripe for disruption.

“The opportunity that we’ve all seen through COVID and through this emerging new future of healthcare … is that the role for the skilled nursing facilities and long-term care facilities actually becomes increasingly important,” she said. 

“There’s been a lot of talk about care at home,” Brandt added, noting ProMedica’s own efforts in that space. “But I think we have to be cognizant of the need for skilled nursing facilities and long-term care for the appropriate patients. I think we need to continue to invest in this space and continue to partner in the way that we have historically done.”

Testing out the petri dish

In Atlanta, that means a joint venture with Emory Healthcare to design and build two multimillion-dollar skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers. ProMedica officials said the joint venture would demonstrate how health systems and post-acute rehabilitation experts can innovate.

Under Brandt, ProMedica Senior Care also is continuing with several pilot projects, which she termed “petri dishes” for silo-busting innovation. In the Toledo, OH, market, for instance, a new program tapped a staff hospitalist to become a skilled nursing medical director, then supplied the director’s facility with new tools from PointClickCare and Epic to help manage transitions through a common interface.

Brandt expects to contract with others in that model to begin making value-based care arrangements in the first quarter of 2022.

Other payers working with ProMedica Senior Care to explore new care models include Kaiser and United.

“There is a new opportunity for the not-for-profit type of lens where we can all take on risk in a different way as part of collective partnership. The value-based component is really going to be important for the future of SNFs,” she said. “What we’re trying to do is unlock the potential, and we can’t do that by ourselves. We do need to do that with partners. This is a relationship business at the end of the day.”