Summit ElderCare brings comprehensive approach to senior care to Springfield
From The Republican, November 18, 2013
SPRINGFIELD — Senior citizens with shrinking abilities and growing needs often find themselves lurching from crisis to crisis, from medical appointment to insurance form, from emergency room visit to Medicare Part D pharmacy coverage.
Fallon Community Health Plan's Summit ElderCare, which celebrated a grand opening last week at its 101 Wason Ave. location, aims to provide a more comprehensive approach, said Karen Longo, Fallon's vice president and executive director for Summit ElderCare.
"We are a total solution — insurance, medical care and long-term community support," Longo said. "We prevent small issues from becoming big ones."
Summit ElderCare, at the corner of Wason and Fiske Avenues, provides medical care, geriatric case management, care coordination, adult day health services, full insurance coverage, including Medicare Part D prescription coverage, and in-home support — all in one personalized program. Longo said Summit ElderCare even helps provide transportation and has a social activities coordinator, social worker and physical and occupational therapists.
It's called a PACE Program for Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly, and is part of a larger trend toward patient-centered medical care that improves quality and saves money by avoiding nursing home and hospital stays.
"There might be an older person who has trouble getting around, they need occupational therapy or they need to get the clutter cleaned out of their house to prevent a fall," she said. "Or he or she needs a social worker. In traditional medicine, there just isn't money to pull all those issues together."
Fallon, which is based in Worcester, has provided services with the Summit ElderCare Model there since 1995. It now has two in Worcester and one in Charlton and one in Leominster.
This is the insurer's first time with the concept in Western Massachusetts and is approved by the federal government to serve Hampden County and a few Hampshire County towns.
The programs funding stream is complicated. But Fallon's per-person revenue for the program is just short of $6,000 a month, Longo said. But most program participants are covered by Medicare and Medicaid. Some participants pay a portion of the $6,000 based on their income and assets, Longo said.
Summit ElderCare will have about 50 employees, not counting contractors, in a few years when it ramps up to full utilization of 300-or-so customers. But it will take years to get there, Longo said. at this point, the center has 21 participants and 12 employees. It's been open since June.
Fallon is renting 14,500 square feet of space on the first floor of a new building built to its specifications, and to LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, requirements by developer Yukon Group.
"They wouldn't have built this if we were not interested in being here," Longo said. "Fallon was interested in this location because it is close to the hospitals and medical offices and our research shows that the largest number of people who need this service live in cities."
Colebrook Realty Services has the rest of the 46,000-square-foot building available to lease at $21 to $23 a square foot.
The site was once part of the Holyoke Card & Paper Co. Yukon has already redeveloped parts of the site for Granite City Electric at 119 Fisk Ave.
Dennis Group Engineering in Springfield is the general contractor.
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