2 nursing home firms team up ManorCare, Lorien brass form a network

Senior care

September 27, 1996|By M. William Salganik | M. William Salganik,SUN STAFF

Hospitals have formed networks. Doctors have. Independent pharmacies have. And now it's nursing homes, in their new incarnation as "post-acute-care facilities."

ManorCare Health Services, a Gaithersburg-based nursing behemoth, and Maryland Health Enterprises, which operates three nursing-rehabilitation centers in Maryland under the Lorien Nursing and Rehabilitation name, yesterday announced the formation of the Mid Atlantic Post Acute Network (MAPAN), designed to seek managed care contracts.

The network will be owned by its members. Mike Reed, a ManorCare district vice president, will be chairman of the board. Lou Grimmel, president and CEO of Maryland Health Enterprises, is the MAPAN president. They hope to assemble a network that will provide geographical coverage of Maryland, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia and offer related services such as home health and infusion therapy.

The goal is to provide "one-stop shopping" for managed care organizations, which prefer dealing with a single entity rather than negotiating contracts with lots of small providers, Grimmel said. The network will negotiate managed care contracts and provide a centralized toll-free number so managed care insurers can arrange placements quickly.

Although nursing-facilities networks are new in Maryland, "they are springing up across the country," said David Kyllo, spokesman for the American Health Care Association, which represents long-term-care facilities. As managed care insurers look to cut costs, hospitals "are discharging quicker and sicker," Kyllo said, and nursing homes have responded with "specially designed and staffed wings" or freestanding facilities designed to care for patients who are out of the hospital but still need care before they can go home.

Such facilities, he said, "can deliver the same services for 30 to 60 percent less" in costs than acute hospital care. Hospitals, too, have been adding post-acute units, with about half of Maryland hospitals opening such units in the past two years.

ManorCare was interested in forming a network because "we are a fairly strong presence in the market, but not in Howard County and some other areas, and we didn't want to buy the additional facilities," said Amy Finkelstein, manager of network development for ManorCare. She said ManorCare has formed a similar network in the Cincinnati market and hopes to eventually participate in such networks in all markets where it has facilities.

Grimmel said his firm "went knocking on ManorCare's door" when it was looking for a network partner because he felt that the network needed, in effect, "an anchor tenant."

"The small individual guy, where you only have one or two outlets, needs to belong to a network that covers the whole state," Grimmel continued. "You almost have to have a big partner, because you need expensive information systems. ManorCare's going to buy them anyway, and I can share services."

The network will begin with seven ManorCare facilities and the three Lorien centers. Additional facilities will be recruited that are "not in overlapping markets," Finkelstein said.

Grimmel said the network will also be looking to add additional services, but "our first concern is getting the right outlets in the right locations."

Pub Date: 9/27/96

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