Senior care advances beyond nursing homes
Joan Marcinko moved in unison with other senior citizens raising barbells above their heads during a chair-exercise class.
The group of about 50 laughed when their instructor, Michelle Vivio, said: “Smile — two more left.”
They took the class at Providence Point, a continuing care retirement community that opened in 2009 in Scott.
Its upscale atmosphere and wide range of offerings — a full activities schedule, billiards room, cocktail lounge, movie theater, skilled nursing, independent-living homes and four restaurants — drew Marcinko and her husband, Andy, more than three years ago. The Marcinkos sold their Mt. Lebanon townhouse and moved into a Providence Point apartment.
“I mean, I feel like I'm on a vacation constantly. It's like a five-star resort,” said Joan Marcinko, 75.
Living at Providence Point isn't inexpensive.
Entrance fees for the LifeCare program, which covers the cost of long-term care, start at $198,500, and monthly fees start at $1,895. Residents pay out of pocket or use long-term care insurance, but the entrance fee is up to 90 percent refundable if a resident moves or dies and someone else takes his or her place.
Providence Point is an example of care moving forward: alternative services, such as assisted living; day services; fee-based personal care; and market-rate or government-subsidized housing with services, which is less expensive for providers than care in traditional nursing facilities, industry experts said.
Some care providers in the state are limiting 24-hour skilled nursing care, which can be paid with Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the poor, and free personal care, said Ron Barth, president and chief executive officer of LeadingAge PA, a Mechanicsburg-based association of 350 not-for-profit organizations that provide care for senior citizens.
The trend is being spurred by insufficient Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements from the government; more seniors in need of free care; and an increase in the demand for alternative services that allow seniors to remain at home as they age, senior-care industry officials said.
The average nursing home costs $8,000 to $9,000 monthly at the private rate. Medicaid, which 65 percent of nursing-home residents receive, covers 85 percent of the cost, Barth said.
Providence Point is owned by a Mt. Lebanon-based nonprofit, Baptist Homes Society. The organization operates another campus for seniors, Baptist Homes in Mt. Lebanon, where 45 percent of residents receive Medicaid, said President and CEO Alvin Allison Jr..
Founded in 1910, Baptist Homes has faced financial challenges in recent years.
It provides a significant amount of free care — $1.5 million worth in the last fiscal year to supplement Medicare and Medicaid shortages — and it expects demand to rise with the influx of baby boomers who will need some skilled nursing care, the nonprofit reported.
“In 102 years, we have never asked anyone to leave because they were unable to pay,” Allison said in December.
Baptist Homes Society had an $11.4 million deficit in 2010, an $18.3 million deficit in 2009 and a $246,088 deficit in 2008, according to its tax returns. Allison attributed most of the deficits to the cost to build the $145 million Providence Point campus on 32 acres in 2009.
One reason it built Providence Point was to expand its independent-living program, lessening the effect of rate reductions in government reimbursements, he said.
With about 700 people at both campuses, Providence Point and Baptist Homes' Mt. Lebanon campus have occupancy rates of slightly more than 90 percent, he said.
Skilled nursing care will become a smaller portion of Baptist Homes' business as home and community-based services grow.
“Our goal is to provide seniors that we serve with a very rich quality of life and in whatever setting they happen to live in,” said Allison.
Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Balancing gas pipeline expansion, environmental unease a problem in Pennsylvania
- Hospitals turn to technology to tear down language barriers with patients
- More companies embrace exchanges to curb health care costs
- Symposiums to spotlight Pittsburgh’s role as an energy powerhouse
- MarksJarvis: Benefits, not just pay, hit the skids
- Bayer to spin off plastics unit as separate company; employment to remain stable
- Mylan CEO Bresch sets sights on growth
- Getting into executive pipeline may require schmoozing
- Envelopes in Marriott hotels invite tips for maids
- Congress: Safety agency mishandled GM recall
- Retailers begin efforts early to woo holiday shoppers