Kissito Healthcare: Tom Clarke, Founder/President/CEO

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Geriatrics contains a growing population and as a result, is a growing area of healthcare in the United States. Even more than other sectors of the industry, geriatrics is also facing the need to do more with less. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has already reduced payments for skilled-nursing facilities by 11 percent.

Despite cuts, Tom Clarke, founder, president, and CEO of Kissito Healthcare, says reform is one of the best things that has happened to the healthcare industry.

“I haven’t read the 3,000 pages of legislation,” he said. “To me, that’s not the impact of reform. The legislation is the grenade lobbed into the healthcare system to cause change. Providers are moving toward coordination of care, partnerships, and more rational ways of providing care.”

He argues that healthcare organizations operate in silos. Kissito is part of the post-acute care silo, but even within that arena, the current system offers no consistency. Providers are offering the same care, but depending on their classification, providers receive different reimbursements, with skilled nursing and home care receiving the least amount of money.

As the industry changes, Clarke expects to see more hospitals partnering with post-acute care facilities, and the ones with the best outcomes are the most likely to survive.

“The five-star system for rating nursing facilities and the CMS core measures are the best things that have ever happened to our profession,” Clarke said. “Executives everywhere are focused on outcomes, which benefits our patients. I know nursing-home outcomes are better because of these measures.”

Caring for overlooked populations

Clarke has a unique perspective on providing care, having spent his career primarily working with populations that are overlooked. He founded Kissito in 1991 after losing his job at a large hospital system. He said he has always had a passion for the elderly and nursing homes offered an entrepreneurial opportunity.

Kissito now has two divisions–Kissito Healthcare, which operates nine geriatric-care facilities in the United States, and Kissito Healthcare International, which includes regional-health delivery systems in Ethiopia and Uganda, as well as education and healthcare programs on four continents.

The company’s mission statement reads, “Kissito Healthcare exists for the betterment and care of human life.” Clarke applies this to all patients, whether they’re malnourished pediatric patients in Africa or elderly individuals in U.S. nursing homes.

Overseas, Kissito Healthcare International partners with government institutions to develop regional health delivery systems. Initiatives focus on sustainability and outcome replication with attention to maternal and child health and nutrition programs.

Keeping patients at home and out of institutions

Kissito Healthcare is focusing its efforts on more home care and trying to move patients out of nursing facilities.

“We tend to institutionalize our elders when we can’t care for them at home,” Clarke said. “But many patients are able to be cared for at home, and we want to go into nursing homes and offer services to reassimilate people into their communities.”

Kissito has purchased home-health operations to help expand services that allow the elderly to live at home. A large part of caring for patients at home involves educating patients and their caregivers. A stay at a Kissito facility should average about 37 days, focusing on recuperation and rehabilitation. Patients and their caregivers are also engaged in a health-awareness and education program.

In Virginia, Kissito has been designated as a Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) provider in Roanoke. This program allows Nursing Home Certified Elders to remain at home and receive home-based care services. Kissito reports that participants in the program experience 50 percent fewer hospital days and more than 90 percent fewer nursing-facility days.

Clarke is expecting Kissito to become more involved in managing patient populations and working with providers across a large geographic area without having to have a physical space.

“We expect to see less building capacity but more patient-care delivery system capacity in the coming years,” he said. “We will execute our model that focuses on self-management skills for patients in their homes and community.”

In terms of reform, Clarke looks forward to the future of healthcare, with more coordination, efficiency, and focus on what is best for patients.

“I think we can be proud of our healthcare system in America,” he said. “If we keep focused on patient outcomes and being part of a larger system, rather than operating in silos, our system will be better than it’s ever been.”

-by Patricia Chaney

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Stewart wamukangu October 30, 2012 at 9:52 am

Thanks to Mr Tom clarke,
It”s true your innovation has done great. it has helped to save thausands of lives of Gods” people.
Long Live Mr Tom Clarke, Long Live Kissito Healthcare.
Please keep-up with the same spirit, DO’NT relax.


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