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Armed with Home-Based Care Capabilities, Advocate Aurora Health Is Ready for Next Step – Home Health Care News

Armed with Home-Based Care Capabilities, Advocate Aurora Health Is Ready for Next Step – Home Health Care News

Advocate Aurora Health may have surprised some with its acquisition of the home care franchise Senior Helpers last year.

But that’s just one of the steps the health system is taking to build out its home-based care capabilities, as well as a larger, full continuum overall.

With Senior Helpers acquisition and a continued pursuit of growth through M&A, Advocate Aurora wants to bolster its reach.

“If you look at the Advocate Aurora journey, we’ve been adding services and programs as we’ve gotten deeper into population health management,” Denise Keefe, executive vice president of Continuing Health for Advocate Aurora Health, told Home Health Care News. “As we uncover gaps in care or services, we fill that with partnerships, joint ventures or starting new programs. That’s always evolving for us.”

Advocate Aurora Health is one of the largest nonprofit, integrated health systems in the U.S., with 27 hospitals,7,000 physicians and more than 500 outpatient care centers. It has dual headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Downers Grove, Illinois.

In the late 2000s, Advocate Aurora made a deliberate decision to prioritize and shape its value-based care models. Building its post-acute strategy came soon after, which included its home care, home health, a skilled nursing facility network and advanced care programs.

Emerging out of the pandemic, its leaders feel they have a better understanding of what seniors want and how they want to age.

How the Senior Helpers deal fits into the growth strategy

It was Advocate Aurora Enterprises – a subsidiary of Advocate Aurora Enterprises – that made the Senior Helpers acquisition last year.

Sheetal Sobti — who leads the aging independently category for Advocate Aurora Enterprises, a subsidiary of Advocate Aurora Health, said the deal furthered Aurora’s footprint in the home health space and is an indication of the company’s aggressive growth strategy.

“There are additional services that we can provide in the home that are a nice complement to what we’re doing in the home health division, that really support the direction that we’ve taken with Advocate Enterprises,” Sobti said. “A good example of that is Senior Helpers. It’s about being able to provide the non-clinical services in the home and really help augment what we’re doing with the clinical services in the home.”

The Senior Helpers acquisition will give Advocate Aurora another set of eyes and ears in the home, helping them provide even more care services when further issues are identified in patients.

“We really think there are great opportunities to build out care models that will enable patients to stay in their home and potentially not need institutional care in the future,” Keefe said.

What’s next

Given the difficulties with labor over the past two years, Keefe said Advocate Aurora is focused on making sure that it’s building out care models that enable the company to embed technology into what it does.

That, Keefe said, will help aid the company’s aggressive growth strategy.

“How do we start to use all of the great [lessons] that we’ve learned through the pandemic?” Keefe said. “With using virtual visits, using remote patient monitoring and using other wearables, we could start to make sure it’s all integrated into our care models and then start to really spread those across our geographic footprint.”

For instance, earlier this year, Advocate Aurora Enterprises acquired MobileHelp, a home-focused provider of remote patient monitoring (RPM) capabilities and personal emergency response systems.

Sobti said that move foreshadows other moves it could make in the future.

“Our most recent acquisition in MobileHelp really came from the desire to start thinking about how we can bring technology into the home,” she said. “That gives us an opportunity to develop some new care models where you’re bundling a caregiver model with technology.”

Having these companies under the Advocate Aurora umbrella allows for the company to make decisions driven by efficiency, both operationally and financially, its leaders said.

Keefe also wants to make sure that as Advocate Aurora and the demand for in-home care grow, there’s a way to pay for these services as well.

“Based on consumers’ desire to remain in the home, we have to make sure we are looking at adequate reimbursement models that enable that,” Keefe said. “[One of my focuses now is] how we make sure that as more care moves to the home, [we have] the reimbursement that supports that.”