LAS VEGAS — Intermountain announced a partnership this week with home care management and senior living services provider Lifesprk to create a new care model for seniors.
The program, titled Homespire, intends to keep seniors healthy while reducing unnecessary emergency room and hospital visits. It will include private-pay home care options such as non-medical services. Homespire will be initially available in the Salt Lake Valley with plans to expand throughout Utah over the next year.
The move comes as Intermountain, like many health systems in the country, has been restructuring to reflect the evolving landscape of care delivery business. Operating expenses rise while patients are moving more toward outpatient settings for their initial entry point into healthcare.
"We're already oriented toward population health and that is a real gift [in] this environment," Intermountain CEO Marc Harrison told the audience at HLTH 2018 on Wednesday. "The question then becomes how to operationalize that."
Harrison said the Salt Lake City-based integrated system has recognized it's in "two fundamental different businesses" when it comes to care delivery. "We're in the keeping people well business ... and the taking care of people when they're sick business," he said. "Creating a healthy tension between those two parts of the organization [is] key."
Currently, the system is focusing its energy on turning what keeps people well into a largely standalone enterprise. Harrison said he believes Intermountain will make that change, and once it does, it can move into the next generation of care delivery.
So far, 2018 has been a busy year for the company.
In January, Intermountain, alongside Ascension, SSM Health and Trinity Health, announced it would start a generic drug company. In March, the system launched Alluceo, an independent company offering technology to help integrate mental health services as a routine part of primary care.
The Homespire program assigns clients a care manager — who are registered nurses — to act as a concierge-like touch point in the patient's home. The manager, who offers 24/7 on-call coverage, works with the client, family and Intermountain to develop care plans that consist of the seven elements of well-being:
- Health and wellness;
- Social supports;
- Purpose and passion;
- Thinking and memory;
- Home and safety;
- Finances; and
It's an example of how health systems are thinking about the country's aging population — and the business opportunities that come with it.
More than 10,000 Americans are aging into Medicare each day, and while Utah is the country’s “youngest state,” its 65 and older population is growing rapidly. A recent CMS final rule gave Medicare Advantage plans additional flexibility to offer supplemental benefits to certain beneficiaries, including for non-medical benefits like meal delivery and transportation.
Homespire is drawing on both of those trends to tap into the burgeoning market.
The companies said Lifsprk has helped reduce emergency room visits by 47.8% and hospital visits by 56.8%, which can help providers and patients save money.
Harrison told the HLTH audience that one-third of the volume Intermountain assists is fully capitated. "We get to do things that don't make economic sense on a case-by-case basis but make sense for a population," he said.
To that end, Harrison shared his view on the care delivery landscape as companies like CVS Health and Walmart have started more public healthcare efforts.
While he's optimistic on the future of healthcare in the U.S., Harrison said he's not necessarily betting on legacy health systems. "They are designed to preserve the status quo. They are addicted to fee-for-service revenue and it's going to be the death knell," he said.
Real risk-sharing is required to make things better for patients, Harrison added. "Healthcare is going to be higher quality and more affordable care for Americans going forward. The question is who gets to deliver that," he said. "Retailers are going to be part of that, but they are not the answer alone."