Advocating for long-term healthcare providers to improve the quality and cost of services across Maryland Joe DeMattos is the president and CEO of Health Facilities Association of Maryland (HFAM), the largest, oldest, nationally-affiliated association of skilled nursing and post-acute care providers in Maryland. Since 1948, HFAM has been dedicated to advocating for Maryland’s community of long-term care providers, such as assisted living, rehabilitation, sub-acute, and skilled nursing facilities. The organization represents a critical link in the state’s long-term care network, which accounts for approximately $3.7 billion in economic activity. Currently, HFAM encompasses 150 providers, 19,000 employees, and cares for more than 25,000 Marylanders annually. Could you tell us more about HFAM? How wide is the association’s reach? JOE DEMATTOS: The Health Facilities Association of Maryland is Maryland’s largest and oldest provider association representing skilled nursing and rehab centers. We represent 150 of the 233 of those centers in Maryland. Those centers provide care at about 40% of the cost of the care provided in hospitals. About 27,000 of the 46,000 people served by those centers annually go back home within 27 days. They employ directly about 36,000 people and indirectly 56,000 people, and they have an economic impact of about $6 billion when you consider other employers that are impacted by them. I’m excited to be HFAM because of where we are in health care, again what scares me are the challenges: the rate of change, the sustainability of federal funding. Unlike other businesses around Maryland and across the United States, the majority of ratepayers—the majority of fees paid to skilled nursing and rehab centers—are paid by Medicare and Medicaid. Medicaid is currently underfunded in Maryland to the tune of about $64 million, annually. That’s a concern. But what excites me is the innovation that has been done by our members, by the Future Cares, and the Mid-Atlantics, the Manor Cares, and the Genesis HealthCares, and really some of our smaller members who were early adopters of electronic medical records. That excites me and it’s a great time to be at HFAM. What else excites you about HFAM and the industry? HFAM has been around for 66 years. We have 150 members. We have everything from a single, third-generation, woman-owned, standalone skilled nursing and rehab center, to Genesis HealthCare with 43 centers in Maryland. We’ve got everything in between. They’re all doing some sort of innovation that distinguishes them in the marketplace and allows them to continue to provide quality care. Another huge advantage that Maryland has nationwide, and really worldwide, is—within the distance of this interview—we have some of the greatest providers and researchers of care in the world. Hopkins is partnering with many of our members in managing care across the continuum, so they’re doing that. Obviously, they’re known worldwide for their research component, doing immune specific cancer therapies and piloting those programs. LifeBridge is doing incredible groundbreaking work on geriatric surgery through their geriatric surgery center. We have two hospitals outside of the Baltimore area that have elder-specific emergency departments that were designed with the help of the Erickson School of Aging here at UMBC. And of course, I am wearing the pin today of the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, which is known worldwide for not only saving lives, but for training others to save lives. That’s exciting, and it’s also exciting that these hospitals are partnering—increasingly at their initiation, and at our member’s initiation—with skilled nursing and rehab centers to improve outcomes for the people in their care. I think it would surprise most people to know that in the 28,000 beds that you can find in skilled nursing and rehab centers in Maryland, and the 67,000 people treated in those beds annually, 46,000 of those patients are short-term patients who are in those centers for about 27 days. The vast majority of people who check in to what we grew up calling a nursing home are now checking into a skilled nursing and rehab center, and the vast majority of them are staying 27 days.
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