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CEO Daniel E. Straus Reflects on CareOne’s First 15 Years and the Future of Senior Care

TheAlternativePress.com Staff

Thursday, February 28, 2013 • 6:04pm

With the percentage of New Jersey seniors who are 65 years of age or older expected to rise to 20 percent of the total New Jersey population by 2030, coupled with widespread changes in Medicare which will impact seniors as a result of the Affordable Care Act passed last year, the demand for high quality senior care services is expected to increase dramatically.

Daniel E. Straus, president, chairman and CEO of CareOne, New Jersey’s largest family owned and operated senior care provider believes the aging demographic occurring throughout the United States represents an opportunity for healthcare providers, one that he saw coming 15 years ago when he started CareOne.

“When I started CareOne in 1998, I knew that our sub-acute care centers would fill a gap in the communities we were planning to operate in. Hospitals were facing increasing pressure to lower their length of stay to ensure financial solvency, but that meant high quality secondary care providers were needed to continue caring for patients who had the need for around the clock, complex medical management.”

Straus’ company started with four nursing and rehabilitation centers in Bergen County, and has grown today to 30 care centers spanning 11 counties. “Our model has proven to be successful, and we have expanded our service line to include not only short term rehabilitation following a hospital stay, but also assisted living communities, home care, hospice care and inpatient units known as Long Term Acute Care Hospitals, which are units CareOne operates within hospitals for patients with significant medical care needs such as ventilator management and wound care.”

CareOne admits over 20,000 patients per year throughout New Jersey and Straus states that more than 90 percent of patients admitted for medical and physical rehabilitation return to their prior living situation with marked improvement in their health.

“The healthcare landscape is changing at a rapid pace” states Straus. “The Medicare system is in need of rapid reform due to financial solvency issues, while health care technologies are enabling people to live longer with better quality of life. Our goal throughout the CareOne network has always been to provide patients and their families, insurers, physicians and hospitals a wide array of care options to address the health care needs and dynamics of an expanding senior population.”

Unlike hospitals, our nursing and rehabilitation centers have more time to successfully rehabilitate patients to ensure they return home safely and recovered. Our facilities have also adapted clinically so that we are now able to offer specialized nursing services that were once only available to the hospital.”

CareOne’s spectrum of care services also ensure that care is coordinated throughout a patient's acute care episode, a strategy that was deliberate when Straus first started Care One.

“I recognized early on that to be successful in senior health care, you have to provide choices. It is not uncommon for a patient who comes to our nursing and rehabilitation centers after orthopedic surgery or following a stroke to have a need for assisted living, home care and even long term care somewhere down the line. By offering a broad range of care options, we are able to take the guess work and confusion out of the decision making process as well as make sure that care is coordinated appropriately throughout our continuum.”

In Livingston, for example, CareOne services include short term rehabilitation care, long term care, assisted living and specialized dementia care in a campus setting as well as a Medicare certified home care and hospice company.

In the past year, several New Jersey hospitals have received approval to become “Accountable Care Organizations.” These organizations, approved by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services share in savings from Medicare by meeting certain quality guidelines and providing care more efficiently than in the past.

“In some sense, we have always been an accountable care organization” Straus says of CareOne. “The concept of delivering outcome oriented care in a lower cost setting is one that we embraced from day one.”

As for the future of senior healthcare in New Jersey, Straus says “I am certain the trend and demand for high quality care services will only increase. I expect to see growth in the number of patients requiring short term care in our facilities after a hospital stay, and possibly being admitted directly to our facilities instead of a hospital in certain instances. I also see the role of the patient’s primary care physician increasing with more accountability being placed on the part of the physician as it relates to patient outcomes and cost and this is a good thing.”

To learn more about CareOne and their services, visit their website at www.care-one.com

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