Gilchrist and Luminis Health form joint venture and find sweet spot in healthcare delivery

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Maryland-based hospice and hospice provider Gilchrist recently formed a joint venture with hospital system Luminis Health to expand the full reach of senior and geriatric care in the southern region of the state.

Through the joint venture, the two organizations formed the Luminis Health Gilchrist Lifecare Institute to provide an “integrative continuum of care for older adults in multiple settings,” in communities across the state, according to a recent announcement.

The joint venture was born out of a need to improve access to critical illness and end-of-life care, according to Dr. Mitchell Schwartz, president of the clinical enterprise and chief medical officer at Luminis Health. The collaboration enables the health system to improve early identification of patients needing palliative and hospice care earlier, as well as reduce rehospitalizations and emergency department visits, he said.

“Ultimately, the business model is about full service, and hospice is part of that,” Schwartz told Hospice News. “It’s about connecting a community in need to this type of care and providing a seamless, comprehensive care approach to care for these patients. You can’t do that if you don’t contract and work with someone to provide palliative care. That’s the route we’ve taken to integrate that.

The JV is launched in a single county, with plans for gradual expansion. It expands the organisations’ existing partnership for hospital-based palliative care services, bringing this care to more settings such as hospitals, doctors’ offices, long-term care facilities and homes. Gilchrist clinicians will also provide palliative care through the joint venture at Luminis Health Anne Arundel Medical Center.

Founded in 1994, Gilchrist is a nonprofit provider that cares for more than 900 patients daily in central Maryland, including Baltimore and Howard counties. The organization provides services at its three inpatient hospices, patient homes, and facilities such as assisted living facilities, skilled nursing, and other residential community care centers.

Gilchrist will soon expand its services with an inpatient pediatric palliative care facility in Baltimore City, Maryland, independent of the JV.

Luminis Health was established in 2019 and generates $1.1 billion in annual operating revenue. The health system’s approximately 6,600 employees, including 1,900 medical staff, provide primary, specialty, emergency, hospital and mental health care in eight counties in Maryland.

The institute aims to better meet the needs of an aging population while reducing costly and unnecessary hospitalizations, the company said in a statement.

“It took a lot of time and teamwork, but it will be worth it for the patients,” Schwartz said. “We think we really have a sweet spot here. This company is like having a quarterback for geriatric patients with multiple chronic conditions, someone who monitors care, understands their choices and goals, and puts the patient at the center of it all.

According to Catherine Hamel, Executive Vice President of Continuing Care and President of Gilchrist, as they integrated their services through the joint venture, Gilchrist and Luminis developed a business model in which both providers assumed risks and shared costs to meet a significant demand for palliative and palliative care. .

“This is truly a 50/50 joint venture. All income, all expenses go through the business, and both parties share the funding of losses or the sharing of gains,” Hamel told Hospice News.

People age 60 and older in Maryland are projected to make up 26.57% of its total population (or 6.7 million people), an increase from about 22% in 2020, according to the state’s Department of Aging.

Although demographics are increasing the demand for end-of-life and critical illness care, palliative care utilization in Maryland lags behind national rates. About 47.6% of Medicare decedents chose hospice in 2018, according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. This figure was lower than the national average of 50.3% that year.

By forming the Luminis-Gilchrist joint venture, the organizations aim to change the health care delivery system, Hamel told Hospice News. One of their goals is to break down silos to improve care coordination, quality and transitions, she said.

“The opportunities for problem solving are there in a relationship with a supplier,” Hamel told Hospice News. “It’s really about an equal partnership where both groups bring learning and experience together in an effort to achieve this larger goal, which is to ensure that people get better care and die better. in this business than before. I cannot stress enough the difference between being a partner and a supplier relationship. »

More hospice and palliative care providers are pursuing joint ventures with hospitals and health systems to address gaps in care. Joint ventures accounted for 69 of 109 deals involving a hospital or healthcare system in home health and palliative care from 2014 to 2021, according to data from mergers and acquisitions consultancy The Braff Group.

Fueling the prevalence of joint ventures in palliative and home care is a drive to improve care transitions and reach patients earlier in their illness trajectory. These partnerships offer providers a way to build patient journeys with “unique advantages” over traditional referral flows, Aaron Stein, COO of Amedisys (NASDAQ:AMED) subsidiary Contessa Health, previously told Hospice News.

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