Ep. 117: PACE, Workplace Strategies & Innovative Partnerships

Apr 02, 2024 |

Ann Conn, President and CEO of McGregor Foundation, discusses the PACE program and shares her expertise in senior living leadership and innovation.

In this episode, host Jennifer Drago interviews Ann Conn, the President and CEO of McGregor Foundation. Today, Ann shares her expertise in senior living leadership and innovation and in navigating the complexities of expanding programs like the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) and fostering community-based services effectively.

McGregor Foundation [2:26] 
Ann explains how the McGregor Foundation has evolved. The organization began as a place for older women, but now it offers services to support elderly individuals residing within the community. McGregor Foundation has focused on developing direct service programs as well as granting approximately $1 million per year in grants to facilitate aging-in-place models.

[6:47] Ann highlights McGregor's dedication to community-based growth, specifically through the PACE program. Instead of focusing on developing new brick-and-mortar communities, McGregor prioritizes collaborating with affordable housing developers to facilitate the expansion of senior living projects in various counties throughout Ohio.

Community-Based Expansion with Strategic Partnerships [7:58]
For Ann, McGregor's PACE program has a significant positive effect. The program helps 670 older adults stay in their homes and get comprehensive care and support. It focuses on maintaining quality of life and satisfaction.

[12:19] While some people live in assisted living or group settings and do not come to the PACE center on a regular basis. Those PACE participants who live independently or with family members come to the center two to three days a week. This allows them to receive complete care and engage socially while remaining independent in their homes.

Overcoming Challenges in Transitioning to Value-Based Care [13:22]
Ann talks about McGregor's efforts to deal with regulatory issues and shift from a payment-focused to a value-based, quality-focused healthcare model. Hiring staff familiar with value-based care and forming partnerships with community providers who share McGregor's commitment to high-quality care are the most significant challenges they have faced.

[16:08] She explains the complexities of coordinating care within McGregor's payment model, highlighting the importance of personalized care plans created by a diverse team. Participants actively shape their care, ensuring their specific needs are met within the monthly payment structure.

[16:54] McGregor, being a small part of the Medicaid program in Ohio, faces unique challenges and strives to promote understanding and recognition of the PACE model in the state's healthcare system.

[18:54] With PACE, McGregor acts as both a healthcare provider and an insurer, focusing on keeping participants healthy and using funds to improve the program. Although McGregor isn't currently evaluated using specific measures like HEDIS and star ratings, they understand that in the future, as PACE grows in more states, they may be evaluated using these ratings.

How McGregor’s PACE Program is Utilizing Technology [20:59]
McGregor is dedicated to innovation in their PACE program. Ann mentions initiatives like risk assessment tools integrated with their electronic health record system and telehealth solutions to provide treatment where people are. These advancements aim to match resources with patient's needs and enhance the quality of care while reducing unnecessary hospital visits.

How Senior Living Providers Can Evaluating a PACE Model [25:31]
Ann suggests that providers interested in PACE should do extensive research, stay updated on state efforts to expand PACE funding, and collaborate with established nonprofit organizations. She also recommends understanding insurance-based models and how to be successful in these capitated models.

[29:50] McGregor typically achieves a 5 to 7% margin with their PACE program. She highlights the importance of this in effectively serving Medicaid populations. PACE allows for decisions prioritizing independence and less restrictive care settings, leading to financial success while fulfilling the organization's mission.

Innovative Partnership for Workforce Development [31:55]
Ann talks about how McGregor is working with other nonprofits to tackle the issue of recruiting and retaining entry-level workers in senior living. They have partnered with three other local nonprofit senior living providers on a nursing assistant training program. These partners have also partnered with Arena Analytics on a pilot program to match prospective employees with the right jobs using artificial intelligence. Their plan for the future is to make it easy for workers to switch between industries and grow the senior living workforce.

[37:58] McGregor partners with other nonprofit senior living organizations to provide shared training programs for CNAs through an “Earn and Learn” program. This helps to expand the options for classes and locations, making it easier for people to receive training.

Training Impact [43:10]
McGregor successfully trained 88 people as certified nursing assistants in 2023, showing significant progress in expanding the Senior Living workforce. Despite turnover rates staying the same, McGregor keeps improving strategies to retain employees and find the best positions for trainees, leading to ongoing improvement.

[44:53] Ann highlights the significance of working together among senior living providers when implementing “Earn and Learn” programs or sharing recruiting strategies. She urges organizations to prioritize mutual success instead of competition, acknowledging that supporting the wider community benefits everyone involved and creates positive experiences for local talent.

Go to https://mcgregorfoundation.org/ to learn more about support programs allowing older adults to age in place.
You can also connect with Ann via email, ann.conn@mcgregoramasa.org or her LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/ann-conn-261175116/.

About Our Guest:

Ann Conn serves as President and Chief Executive Officer for the McGregor Foundation with more than 25 years of experience working in the Senior Living Industry. She provides leadership to McGregor whose mission is to serve seniors through both direct service provision and philanthropic support. McGregor provides rehabilitation, nursing, housing and hospice services in conventional settings as well as working to keep seniors as independent as possible in the community through its Program for All-inclusive Care for the Elderly.

For the first five years of her career, she worked in public accounting performing audit, tax and business valuation engagements. She joined Asbury Heights, a continuing care retirement community located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In an effort to relocate to Ohio, she joined a family-owned chain of nursing facilities located in Ohio and Pennsylvania where she worked until joining McGregor in 2006. Ann currently serves on the board of directors for the Leading Age Ohio and Evergreen Cooperative Board.

About the Show:

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