Changemaker Series

By on Nov 14, 2019 in People

For the fifth entry in the Changemakers, the Yardi-sponsored Senior Housing News series that shines a light on senior living’s biggest movers and shakers, we’re taking a look at a leader who founded her own senior living company over three decades ago. And since then, she hasn’t stopped pushing for greater innovation and better quality of care.

Lynne Katzmann

Lynne Katzmann started Juniper Communities in 1988 to help under-managed skilled nursing facilities, raising capital, monitoring investments and improving daily operations. In the mid-90s, the company pivoted to focus on assisted living, then a new idea in the senior housing industry. They also began to take a more direct hand in running their communities, eventually developing and building a number of their own to meet their high standards. Juniper Communities has now grown to 21 communities in four states, which represent all levels of care from independent to memory to skilled rehab.

One of Katzmann’s more recent changemaking initiatives has been Connect4Life, a program that integrates care delivered by Juniper staff and by ancillary clinical providers located in the community. The program gathers essential services under one roof so residents can have faster, more convenient access to care.

A key building block of Connect4Life was Juniper’s early adoption of electronic health records (EHR). “By the end of 2012, we had an integrated electronic operating model,” said Katzmann. “And that was pretty revolutionary. We’d always collected data, and we began to be able to use data to drive decisions.”

From there, Katzmann was able to establish a model where each resident had their own circle of care providers, all using the EHR system to track details and communicate more effectively with each other. This helped reduce transfers to outside facilities and keep people happier. Now, Katzmann is looking to take Connect4Life to the public policy stage, where she can influence the senior living industry at large and bring these benefits nationwide.

Katzmann explains more in this excerpt from her interview with Senior Housing News:

Can you elaborate on [Connect4Life’s] results?

We had Anne [Tumlinson] do the research, and she first looked at utilization, and we spent probably a good half a year pulling data out of our system and comparing it to the Medicare data set that she had access to at Johns Hopkins.

The results far exceeded anything we ever thought possible. With the very large reduction in hospitalizations and readmissions, we said, “Okay, we’ve got a program that really could be something. And what we’ve done is doable by anyone in our industry, and because we believe in being a model for public policy, let’s package it and share it.”

I was not one to get out and speak to people. I just wanted to be at home with my little garden, cooking food for the whole neighborhood, doing the things that I love. And [my team] said, “No, Lynne. We’re at a point in who we are as a company that you need to get out. You need to tell people what we’re doing because we want to be recognized for our work.”

I went out and started talking. It enabled us to really come full circle on our original goal to be a model for public policy.

We then hired Anne again to monetize the value of the savings from [our reduced utilization], and those numbers came back so amazingly large that we said, “If we’re saving the government $10 billion to $15 billion a year, wouldn’t it be cool if senior housing captured some of those dollars so we could do more for the people who need our services but can’t afford to pay for it?”

Read the entire interview on SHN.