Prevention and Accountable Care Organizations
In 2012, Medicare is scheduled to implement physician payment reforms to enhance primary care and encourage the formation of Accountable Care Organizations that will manage sizable groups of Medicare beneficiaries’ lives. These ACOs will also include hospitals with fees based upon a formula of cost reductions and quality care results. This will be quite a change from the traditional fee-for-service payment model. Once Medicare gets this ball rolling, the private insurance companies will quickly do the same.
Prevention including annual medical exams, screenings and other diagnostic tests are expected to become routine for everyone in these ACOs by 2014. What is unclear is the role of fitness, nutrition and wellness services in this business model and who is best able to provide these services and at what cost. While physicians clearly understand the benefits of fitness, nutrition and wellness services to improve their patient lives and reduce their demands on the system, current legislation fails to specify a role for this important aspect of wellbeing in the new healthcare business model.
Consumers value what they pay for and clearly the explosion of the health and fitness industry over the last two decades speaks for itself. What has not happened is the focus on improving community health through a wide-scale effort including all the major stakeholders: schools, businesses, healthcare and public institutions. If society is really going to reduce our soaring healthcare costs while improving health, prevention in all forms must be the front-line defense.
For most of my professional career, I have been involved with shaping a new direction for healthcare, which includes medical fitness and wellness as part of hospital services. During those decades, I have experienced the consolidation of healthcare through hospital mergers, physician acquisition and the rapid expansion into convenient ambulatory care centers. The medical fitness industry has continued to grow during this period.
However, for the next generation of medical fitness services to be embraced, these services will need to be:
- Covered by private health insurance and Medicare/Medicaid
- Premium reduction and tax incentives for companies that incorporate these programs into their benefit programs
In addition, there will need to be financial incentives for building ACOs and for the physicians and hospitals that participate. Today’s model is one of reimbursement for disease – not financial reward for health. Without a well-planned transition, it will be initially too costly to make this transition.
I believe that every ACO will need a network of medically affiliated fitness and wellness centers with certified and trained teams delivering the latest in exercise and nutrition science in environments that also combine rehabilitation and conditioning services. These centers will have to have a complicated business model based upon a capitated annual rate as well as market-driven ancillary businesses. They will be a lot different from the current landscape of small, local fitness clubs and the Ys based upon their complex staff mix, policies and processes, integrated communications strategies and branding. They will
Boosting Retail Sales: Display and Merchandise
If you attended the Medical Fitness Association webinar, here are some Vendor Resources as mentioned in the Categories section. This is just a small sample of recent finds. If a distributor is listed, you may need to contact the Manufacturer directly to find out a sales representative in your area or region.
Also, at the end of this list, we’ve included information on ADA requirements for your retail areas.
What a Girl Wants
Beology women’s apparel, beologyonline.com, Midwest sales representative, bethbingham.com
Twist & Pout Lip Moisturizer, twist-and-pout.com
Marika/Balance Collection Active Wear & Yoga Clothing, marika.com
Spring & Summer 2011 Catalogs, 02.10.11 Balance Collection- Spring Summer 11′, 02.10.11 Marika- Spring Summer 11′
Deep Steep Bath & Body Care Products, royallabs.com, Julie Colucci, Midwest natural & specialty broker for Deep Steep & Lunchskins, email@example.com, BodyMistCard
Waterbox, waterboxco.com, Eastman Tritan Water Bottles, BPA-Free, Custom logo option available starting at 48 bottles. Approx wholesale cost, $6 for plastic, $12.50 for stainless steel
Proud of the USA
Wigwam socks, Midwest rep, peopleinmotion2.com
Best-sellers, opening order, $300.
F6029 Thunder Pro lo cut $5.10/suggested $11, great soft sock
F6028 Crew Sock $6.10/ suggested $13
F1263 Blossom $4/suggested $9
F1249 Racey $4/suggested $9
S1211 Soft T 3 Pak $5.80/ suggested $12
F1258 Inspire $3.10/ suggested 6.50
F1145 Dash $3.35/suggested $7.50 (also comes in 2pk $5.95 for $12.99)
F1364 Diabetic Sport Qtr $4.10/suggested $9
F1363 Sport Crew $4.75/suggested $10
Green3, Casual organic apparel, see Restore America organic t-shirts for men
Not for e-readers
Books through Kelley & Crew, terms
Chronicle Mother’s Day Suggestions
Retailers’ ADA Responsibilities
Accessibility is a responsibility of a retailer that can be confusing because so much of the written law is open to interpretation. The general rule is that no one can be denied a service or an experience due to physical limitations. It is best to be aware of these important requirements and do one’s best to address them.
Here are just a few…
• Make sure you provide the minimum aisle width, which is 36” for straight runs
• When a 90 degree turn is required when a minimum aisle is provided, a 48” passage space following the turn must be provided
• When making a 180 degree turn in one spot a 60” diameter turning space is required
• A change in floor level will require specifically pitched ramping
• A transaction ledge that is a minimum of 36” wide and no higher than 36” above the floor is required at the point of sale area
These are just a few of the items to be aware of. An excellent web site that I have found is a great way to check your compliance can be found at www.access-board.gov/adaag/
Ten Good Reasons Why Your Community needs a MedFit Wellness Center
Selecting a Medical Fitness or Wellness Facility Feasibility Consultant
With the medical fitness industry approaching its 40th anniversary and a reported 1,100 facilities (there are more than 12,000+ commercial clubs), it’s important to understand the role of consultants in project development, operations and marketing. The primary benefits often associated with hiring a consultant are objectivity, experience and effectiveness in understanding and translating client needs into workable solutions that can achieve results. Consultants also should have a record of saying “This might not work.” The consultant’s track record in correctly analyzing key market factors and then translating that information into facility demand estimates is critical in determining optimum solutions.
Besides the consultant’s proprietary analytical approach and ability to work with a client, other important selection criteria are the diversity of the team, communications and training skills, references and what I simply call, fit. Fit relates to the personality and style of the team and its initial client interactions. A great consulting engagement is when the client values the team and its work as an extension of his or her own office.
What other attributes should the consultant bring? Confidentiality and guaranteed client satisfaction are two big ones as well as having controllable conflicting interests. This is much harder today across all industries as businesses have grown and diversified or gone out of business. With many consultants coming from the management, architectural and construction industries, it some times becomes difficult to control conflicts without full disclosure and strong client involvement during the engagement process. Real world solutions and a transparent process are keys to bridging some of these controllable conflicts.
Your responsibility as a client is to do your homework before engaging the consultant. Define the scope of the engagement and the desired outcomes. Contact clients who implemented suggestions and find out the success and failures so that you know what to avoid and determine the ability of the consultant to stay within budget and to deliver the project on time. Ultimately it’s your responsibility to manage the consultant engagement so that the work product meets the scope of services outlined at the beginning of the contract.
Just because you’ve hired a consultant does not mean you can distance yourself from the project. Stay involved with the consultant or assign a point person from your staff so that the final results are customized to your needs, and not a retread of the consultant’s past work.
Chronic Care Management
Check out this company. Recently in the Science Section of The New York Times, an article on chronic care management got my attention because of this company, Health Quality Partners, and the success they’ve had in lowering Medicare patients’ healthcare costs. (The rest of the article wasn’t too optimistic.) Medical Fitness Centers ought to be doing this, if they’re not already. We have a similar approach that we’ve used with some of our clients.
Tribal Wellness Centers
During the last 20 years Native American tribal organizations have benefited from their sovereign nation status developing new businesses that have improved their local economy and members’ well-being. Although tribal gaming has been a major economic development tool, these organizations have also reinvested gaming profits in other social, education and health-related projects. Some have built wellness centers, which are providing medical, fitness and recreational services.
While much of this development has been in lower-populated reservations in the west and upper mid-west, many newer tribal gaming operations are moving into more competitive locations in and around major metro markets. Following the Las Vegas casino model of mixed-use properties, these new tribal destinations are smaller inclusive resorts with entertainment, accommodations, services and gaming. Some even have day spa services, but none have the branded lifestyle/wellness franchise of the Canyon Ranch at the Palazzo in Las Vegas.
Newer tribal developments in more dense metro and vacation-oriented locations have the markets for a brand of medically integrated wellness centers similar to those that our company has created for community hospitals during the last 20 years. These new centers would be a more sophisticated hybrid providing a comprehensive range of healthy living products and services, including medical care, family counseling, education, lifestyle coaching, fitness spaces and nutritional services. Customers would be expected to frequent the wellness center several times during their resort visit, leaving with at-home maintenance programs. The larger numbers of regular users living within 10-15 miles would be attracted to the quality of services, information and facilities provided at affordable rates.
These new wellness center facilities would be owned by the tribal organizations, and leased to a contractor for management, operations and communications. Facility size would vary based upon expected demand and programs, but would range between 50-70,000 SF, and cost from $15M to $20M. Facility revenues would be a blend of membership and fee-for-service charges with tiers based on the incomes of tribal and non-tribal customers. The federal Indian Health Services program may support medical and preventive services provided to tribal members.
We believe that enhanced programming, services and structured interventions at reservation-based wellness centers may improve some of the health indicators for tribal members, but not all. The primary business goals are to capitalize on new destinations to diversify customer’s experience as well as to provide a much-needed service for health-conscious adults living nearby. Native American healing arts has a favorable marketing perception based upon a sense of spirituality and application of homeopathic remedies, some of which have become a key component of today’s alternative medicine. All of these unique aspects would be carefully incorporated into a new brand of medically integrated wellness and healing arts centers for tribal gaming developments.
Based on our experience with hospital-owned Wellness Centers and their host communities, these unique facilities are perceived as real assets providing much needed beneficial services. As gaming faces concerted opposition at all levels, the public relations benefit of providing enhanced wellness services to the public may become a pivotal advantage. It would also provide a source of positive cash flow for the sponsoring tribal organization and employment opportunities for younger post-college workers.
Benefits of Community College Wellness Facilities
In this recessionary climate, new university recreation/athletic facilities will need to depend upon a broader mix of customers beyond students and faculty and embrace the wellness needs of local residents to be economically prudent.
Additionally, the opportunity to provide a facility for corporate wellness programs would benefit a university’s staff and local employers. Students would also be exposed to the lifestyle needs of sound nutrition and regular exercise as part of daily healthful living.
Planned and executed according to our feasibility and business planning process, the center should be self-sustaining and produce a positive cash flow that can benefit other outreach initiatives. The public relations and health cost savings are unique attributes of this concept.
MedFit’s wellness center business model is based upon serving people of all ages and especially those having chronic conditions. These customers are self-referred and self-pay, which is highly desirable for recreational facilities of all types.
Re-developing Vacant Big Box Retail Facilities
Your community has a unique hidden asset, which needs immediate attention. That unique resource is that closed, bland-looking big box retailer or possibly strip center, sitting in front of acres of parking on the main highway of town. Conveniently located to access its 10-mile market area and an instantly recognized location by consumers; these hidden resources are being redeveloped into a range of healthcare uses from medical malls to wellness centers. After redevelopment, they often spur new growth nearby.
What also is of interest is the ability to create a new ambulatory care setting at a lower cost than for a comparable new “Greenfield” type project. In most situations, both acquisition and renovation costs are substantially less, and financing is typically available from the owner or through other economic development programs especially for a new community amenity that our business model provides.
We worked with Altoona Hospital in Altoona, Pa., on the feasibility for this type of project. The Station Mall is an excellent example of the redevelopment of a 1970s shopping center into a new business of medical offices and potentially, a health and wellness center.
Today’s healthcare executives need to simultaneously expand and execute less costly approaches in a consumer-driven healthcare environment with convenient locations and a mix of physician, clinical and wellness services. If your organization has the vision to perceive of these resources as an opportunity, then we can create a program and a facility that works for you.