Annual 2024 Home Care 100 Gathering: Exploring New Frontiers

Home Care 100’s June gathering served as a critical platform for advancing dialogue around growth, payer relationships and new technology.

DANA POINT, Calif., June 13, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Leaders from across home-based care, including CEOs from the largest operators in the country, policy insiders, private equity, payers and leading-edge product/service companies came together at Home Care 100 produced by Lincoln Healthcare Leadership last week to connect across diverse viewpoints on key issues impacting the future of the sector and develop critical partnerships. 

Home Care 100's Summer 2024 conference took place in Dana Point, California.

Attendees advanced ideas and initiatives to uncover new growth opportunities, close the gap between payer expectations and the reality on the ground for care providers, and examine emerging technologies. 

Building on momentum from Home Care 100’s January 2024 gathering, a highly curated schedule of 18 sessions took place over three days, facilitating dialogue, debate and alignment across many perspectives, and serving as a launching pad for the second half of the year. 

A Call for Boldness

The most easily actionable strategies for growth, and those favored by both the current tight investment market as well as payers, are organic and based on expanding wraparound services in areas adjacent to where organizations have already demonstrated success. But, bigger, bolder visions were also shared.

“If what you are doing in your box isn’t working, find a new box. As an industry we need to continue to innovate, harvest data and be a greater part of the continuum of care with payer sources,” said Todd Houghton, President of Homewatch CareGivers.

Scott Powers, CEO of Elara Caring, shared a game-changing vision for the future of home healthcare by unveiling his company’s ambitious goal: within two years, their clinicians will spend 80% of their day providing care, up from 50% today. This is not just a bold target, it’s a commitment to reshaping the industry through innovation, and putting the needs of caregivers and patients front and center.

Data, Data and More Data

Leveraging data, operators’ most critical and under-utilized asset, to enhance efficiency, improve payer negotiations and evaluate growth opportunities formed the backbone of most discussions. Even when talks veered away from the dollars and cents of growth and toward the larger issues of policy and lobbying, knowing the best way to leverage data remained imperative.

“Plans have all the data, and they don’t all share. You have to put it in your contract that they have to share the data otherwise you won’t be able to show any value,” said Dan Savitt, CEO of VNS Health. 

The Middle Market Takes Center Stage

With heavy application of virtual technologies and a pioneering approach, providers are finding success in the large middle market, a cohort that will only expand in the coming decades. Serving this often over-looked population in great need of affordable personal care is inspiring, and so are the business results: realizing efficiencies in workforce deployment and generating additional value for partners through predictive tools.

Utilizing technology to alleviate cases of isolation and improve mental health of elderly clients was identified as critical to this strategy, as was the importance of having an appropriate technology equation to reduce the time burden of staff. 

“Being more flexible in the way we deliver care is the future,” said Peter Ross, CEO & Co-Founder of Senior Helpers, who spoke on the panel. Senior Helpers has created a powerful middle market program that incorporates virtual tech bills not by the hour but by type of service provided.

Keys to Success with Payers

With an underlying reminder to take care of the patient, not the payer, there was critical dialogue on reimbursement models and payer relationships, including mastering their data-driven language and leveraging staff performance bonuses to unlock value-based payments, while counting towards CMS’ new 80/20 rule for direct care worker compensation.

A slight majority at Home Care 100 saw the rule as a threat but many were optimistic about their ability to respond while making it clear there was no need for the government to dictate profit margins.

When it comes to the transformation required to take on full risk, “you need mindset changes in your technical, people and financial strategies,” said Paola Bianchi Delp, President & Chief Business Development Officer, CareNu. “You have to find partners that can take you where you want to go.”

Technology and Advancements in AI

Lack of interoperability and integration with existing platforms remains a significant impediment to greater and more successful penetration of tech-enabled solutions in home care, but the promise of generative AI is boundless, and a “superpower” that can significantly benefit caregivers, both in the field and with their job satisfaction. 

During a series of sessions addressing new technology, operators made the case that an open mind is needed given the major opportunity for great productivity gains. Many operators shared the innovative ways they are using AI to support back office needs, and some have groups focused solely on this area. 

Healthcare technology expert, Dr. Indu Subaiya pointed Home Care 100 attendees to the most promising current and emerging applications, drawing from the greater healthcare sector where integration is rapidly taking hold and setting the stage for similar progress in home-based care.

While many promising new players are entering the market, Home Care 100’s community of leaders can play a key role in spurring more development, and shaping the direction of the technology, by partnering with entrepreneurs willing to take on at-risk arrangements to gain traction in the space.

“Be willing to take certain risks as we move forward. You need to try new things in tech that might scare you but are worthy of your attention and research,” said Jeff Salter, Founder & CEO of Caring Senior Service. Jeff has incorporated new technologies designed to enhance the client experience, even when the caregiver is not there. 

Remember Our Foundation: Caregivers

Whether the business objective is revenue growth, better margins, or enhanced efficiency, and whether the lever pulled is in technology, service line expansion, lobbying or payer contracts, the end result matters most: high quality care and retaining the right caregiver staff to deliver it. Investment in technology or new growth initiatives cannot succeed without diligent investment into our people. 

“Caregivers fuel our growth and are our foundation” was a powerful reminder from Scott Powers of Elara Caring. 

Caregiver retention remained a critical focus area for the space with operators sharing the top reasons their agencies are losing staff, and ways they are combatting turnover.

“Engaging and retaining our workforce is not just about numbers. It’s about nurturing a supportive environment where every caregiver feels valued and empowered,” said Marshalina Ramos, President & COO, Premier Home Health Care Services.

Speaking on Home Care 100’s role in advancing care delivery in the home, Jeanette Lynn, Managing Director, said: “When we look at the biggest areas of growth and innovation in healthcare over the past few years, so many include a home-based component. When you combine more value, more models, more investors and more competition, it’s clear the future of home care will look very different than it does in this moment. We are committed to delivering a vital platform that not only clarifies the future for our leadership community but ensures they get there successfully.” 

For more information on Home Care 100’s annual gatherings, please visit: 

Siri Wheeler
[email protected]

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SOURCE Lincoln Healthcare Leadership