SIDNEY — LanePark/Alcore Senior held an informational gathering at LanePark of Sidney Tuesday evening to introduce new President John Noffsinger to the Sidney community.
Noffsinger comes to LanePark from Exceptional Living Centers where he served as vice president of Business Development. As a health care professional who began his career as a registered nurse, Noffsinger has extensive experience in quality assurance, team building, problem solving, relationship building, systems development, long term care and hospital integration, and executive leadership development. He, his wife, and two daughters live in Lebanon, Ohio.
During the informal gathering, Noffsinger addressed the evolution of health care and how ongoing changes will impact its future.
“When I started out as an orderly in a nursing home, I would help patients put on their shoes and roll them to meals. That was the extent of services we provided,” said Noffsinger. “There is so much more now. People are getting older, living longer and have so many options. Services that used to be provided only in hospitals, like basic IVs or wound care, are now provided in assisted living settings and even as part of home health services.”
Noffsinger began his talk by citing several statistics. First, Medicare enrollment that stood at 20.4 million people in 1970 has jumped to 55 million in 2015 and will balloon to 81 million by 2030. Second, the first half of every dollar spent on medical needs goes to just 5 percent of the population, leaving the remaining half to cover the other 95 percent.
“Historically, there were prime care physicians who would follow their patient through all their health challenges,” said Noffsinger. “When the number of prime care physicians started dropping and specialists took over, hospitals would completely wash their hands of patients when they were discharged. If a patient went from the hospital to a nursing home, the nursing home had to start all over to determine what the patient needed.”
“What we have found is that if a patient is sent from the hospital to a facility and there is no conversation, there is a good chance that the patient will bounce right back to the hospital, and be billed again. If the challenge is how to keep the costs down and the quality up, then the conversations need to happen.”
Noffsinger pointed out that the Affordable Care Act, although maligned by many, has forced hospitals to be responsible for patients after they are discharged. This is a huge step in creating a continuum of care that can keep treatment and monitoring flowing as people transition.
“Health care providers tend to work in ‘silos’; they are isolated,” said Noffsinger. “As the elderly numbers continue to grow, there won’t be enough providers if we don’t learn to work together. Care coordination creates a better ‘hand off’ as a patient moves through the system.”
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is addressing quality of care issues with a “Triple Aim” strategy focused on better care for individuals, better health for the general population, and a decreased trend factor for costs. One CMS initiative that is being adopted by many large hospital systems is a “bundling code” that authorizes a set amount for the entire treatment period, not just the customary three-day hospital stay.
LanePark of Sidney is one of three facilities operated by LanePark/Alcore Senior. The other two are in Huber Heights and Oregon, Ohio. They are designed as assisted living facilities that are 100 percent private pay; in other words, they do not accept Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance (unless it is long-term health care insurance). Although the Sidney site is only at half capacity, Noffsinger anticipates growth in the years to come for both the Sidney site and the company.
In addressing specifics about his new position with LanePark, Noffsinger indicated he is most interested in meeting on a regular basis with staff, families and residents. He hopes to hold monthly family meetings where he will get to know the residents and listen to their concerns.
Many people do not realize that licensed Assisted Living facilities can provide skilled services such as physical therapy, speech therapy and wound care for up to 120 days a year. Physical therapy at LanePark is provided through Wilson Health. There are RNs on staff to monitor residents and assess level of care needed.
“There are lots of levels in the continuum,” said Noffsinger. “I have always felt that you start at the lowest intervention level because once you get to a higher level of care, it is hard to move back.”
Noffsinger is also interested in conducting more educational forums open to the public to discuss health care issues. He stressed that people need to ask questions.
“With the complexity of health care today, it is easy to get lost in the system,” said Noffsinger. “My first goal is to be an advocate for the residents and families of LanePark, but I also want to help everyone in the greater community understand how to manage the health care system so that it works best for their particular needs.”
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.