How Can Community-Based Integrated Care Networks Help Deliver Better Service to Older Adults and the Disabled?

How Can Community-Based Integrated Care Networks Help Deliver Better Service to Older Adults and the Disabled?

Increasingly older adult service providers are being asked to partner with healthcare providers and hospital systems to address a wide-range of problems experienced by older adults and the disabled. To make these partnerships easier, the Administration for Community Living is encouraging Area Agencies on Aging, like the Erie County Department of Senior Services, to explore community-based integrated care networks. Similar to physicians’ Independent Practice Associations, these networks allow participating organizations to remain independent while serving as a contracting vehicle for a group of partners. Integrated care networks can only be useful locally, however, if they make sense in the New York State regulatory environment, and if the provider community is ready to embrace one.

How Can Community-Based Integrated Care Networks Help Deliver Better Service to Older Adults and the Disabled?

Increasingly older adult service providers are being asked to partner with healthcare providers and hospital systems to address a wide-range of problems experienced by older adults and the disabled.  To make these partnerships easier, the Administration for Community Living is encouraging Area Agencies on Aging, like the Erie County Department of Senior Services, to explore community-based integrated care networks. Similar to physicians’ Independent Practice Associations, these networks allow participating organizations to remain independent while serving as a contracting vehicle for a group of partners. Integrated care networks can only be useful locally, however, if they make sense in the New York State regulatory environment, and if the provider community is ready to embrace one.  

Do integrated care networks make sense in New York State?  Geographic reach is increasingly important in New York as emerging opportunities are often regional, rather than county or neighborhood-based.  This applies to working with long-standing payers, such as Medicare Advantage plans, and new buyers in New York, such as Performing Provider Systems.  At the same time, managed care entities continue to have network adequacy standards that must be met. Given this, regional reach is increasingly essential for service providers, while local service delivery capacity continues to be a core need of managed care entities. 

Is the provider community ready to embrace an integrated care network?  Aging network providers believe they have a valuable role to play in turning the curve on healthcare and long term care spending, but face considerable obstacles to participating in the marketplace. An integrated care network would be beneficial for overcoming a significant weakness—limited geographic reach—which is increasingly an elimination factor for those who wish to pursue new opportunities.  An integrated care network can also provide an organizational framework for providers to work together to develop and implement programs to meet new service needs, including health promotion, care transitions, and affordable long term services and supports (LTSS).  Individually, providers lack the capacity to scale up, and to deliver consistent programming throughout a multi-county region.  They also lack the capacity to communicate collective impact around client outcomes, which is increasingly needed to get the attention of managed care entities that are facing capitated rates and value-based payments. Local providers understand the potential of a regional integrated care network to overcome limitations that are hurting the competitiveness of stand-alone organizations.

Read more in Community-Based Integrated Care Networks, published by the WNY Integrated Care Collaborative.

Contact

Phone: (716) 858-8526

Erie County Department of Senior Services
95 Franklin Street, 13th Floor
Buffalo, New York 14202

Office hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 am - 5:00 pm