- St. Louis-based Ascension Health has created a senior-care division to integrate its post-acute-care services and establish more uniform care standards. Ascension, formed 15 years ago, has 131 hospitals and 1,900 care sites across 23 states and the District of Columbia.
- Its new division represents a reorganization of Ascension's existing senior-care services. These include its independent living, assisted-living and skilled-nursing facilities, all under the name of Ascension Health Senior Care.
- Ascension's new division also will include its Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), a Medicare/Medicaid initiative for adults aged 55 and older to receive community-based, coordinated care from a healthcare team. Its three PACE programs have 725 enrollees dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.
Modern Healthcare said the move is expected to make Ascension Health the second-largest not-for-profit, long-term-care operator in the country, with more than 5,500 senior-care beds. Ascension, the nation's largest private, not-for-profit health system, has 34 senior-care facilities across the U.S.
Ascension Health CEO Robert Henkel described the move to Modern Healthcare as "essentially a reorganization of our existing senior services and programs that are around the country, typically located in our local ministries." He said the idea is to create a coordinated operation that takes advantage of Ascension's best practices and experience in senior care on a national scale. Ascension doesn't have a specific growth strategy or target for senior-care services, he said, but its new division will try to increase its footprint in markets where its health system already has experienced growth.
"As we move into a kind of a bundled-payment mechanism in healthcare for post-acute-care services, being able to control the clinical quality across the entire healthcare spectrum makes a lot of sense for a large acute-care hospital system such as Ascension," analyst Toby Wann of Obsidian Research Group told Modern Healthcare.