The Jewish Home for the Elderly: Andrew Banoff, President and Chief Executive Officer

by HCE Exchange on April 4, 2012

Senior care is a growing area of healthcare with focus moving out of nursing homes and toward home care. The move toward home care comes from a new generation of seniors who are living independently for longer and from a cost perspective in the healthcare system. Providing care at home is more desirable for patients and more cost-effective for providers.

The Jewish Home for the Elderly, based in Fairfield, Conn., is a large organization made up of a 360-bed skilled-nursing facility and home- and community-based services for seniors. The non-profit facility is overseen by a Board of Directors comprised of members from surrounding counties.

Although the Jewish Home welcomes all members of the community, its mission is to provide “primarily Jewish seniors the healthcare, housing, and community-based services required to achieve the highest quality of life attainable.”

The Jewish Home follows traditional Jewish observances, including Kosher food, on-site rabbinical training programs, and Shabbat and holiday services held in the Jewish Home’s synagogue. The director of pastoral services serves as an integral member of the Jewish Home’s leadership team, and care programs are designed to promote spiritual health as well as physical.

Growth beyond nursing-home care

The Jewish Home for the Elderly has about 750 employees and a $45-million annual budget. It offers five rehabilitation programs–short-term rehab for people coming out of the hospital; long-term rehab for residents; home-care therapy; contract therapy to other skilled-nursing facilities; and outpatient therapy for the community.

It’s the services beyond the skilled-nursing facility, however, that have seen tremendous growth for the Jewish Home, namely a range of community and home-based care programs.

“The Home is a vehicle for senior services, regardless of the level of care,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Banoff. “We have an overriding commitment to serve people in their homes, and we are privileged to work in individual homes.”

Banoff said the home-care and community programs are receiving great feedback from the community. The Jewish Home recently embarked on an innovative venture called Senior Choice at Home. The program, which is licensed by the Connecticut Department of Social Services, offers the full spectrum of long-term care needs at home.

“Through Senior Choice at Home, we provide care to people at home, no matter what level of care they need, for the rest of their lives,” Banoff said. “It is a great way to package everything we offer.”

Senior Choice at Home is a membership-based program that allows members to receive a lifetime of services, including personal-care coordination, home-health care, emergency-response systems, and guaranteed assisted living and long-term care, if needed.

Although home care is preferred, some patients still need the services provided at a nursing home. The Jewish Home is under contract to buy land to build a new facility. The new Jewish Home would be built under the household model, rather than an institutional model, providing residents with a more home-like atmosphere.

The current Jewish Home is located on a 15-acre campus in suburban Fairfield, Conn. Banoff said the new land would provide opportunity to greatly improve upon the services that are already offered at the existing 40-year-old facility.

Pursuing four primary goals

With plans to build a new facility and grow home-care services, the Jewish Home for the Elderly is prepared to maintain market share and position itself for the future. Banoff said the Jewish Home operates successfully with the support of the community and the quality of the staff. But along with these factors, third-party reimbursement is a reality of the business, and fiscal management is never far from Banoff’s thoughts.

As with all healthcare organizations, the Jewish Home isn’t sure what to expect from the future until more clarity is evident in reform measures. But, Banoff said, he does not intend for the Jewish Home to become part of an Accountable Care Organization (ACO).

“An ACO is not our role in the marketplace,” he said. “We operate in the Medicare world and are dedicated to one segment of the population. The size and scope of our organization is not equipped to take on the full financial responsibility of another demographic. We don’t have the acute-care dollars, a pharmacy, or physicians to support being an ACO.”

The Jewish Home does maintain a three-year plan with consistently updated goals to ensure the stability of the organization. The plan includes four primary goals–providing the best quality to residents and clients; making sure to recruit the best staff and create a positive work environment; ensuring fiscal stability; and developing new business.

The primary service vision for the organization is to be a one-stop shop for all senior needs. Family members can call if a loved one needs short-term care, longer in-home care, personal emergency systems, or any other needs.

“We will continue to make sure we are that single-point resource for family members on any need they have,” Banoff said. “Whatever the message is, we have resources to be a high-quality provider of that service.”

-by Patricia Chaney

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