September 14, 2011
Turning 100: Los Angeles Jewish Home has ambitious growth plans
(Page 2 - Previous Page)
So, although no buildings closed, the Jewish Home did lay off 20 staff members, including one of its three rabbis. It also renegotiated employee health care contracts to save $700,000 a year.
But something else was working in its favor. Because of careful planning, groundbreakings for state-of-the-art facilities and celebrations for new programs that took place years ago were bearing valuable fruit, both for residents and the Jewish Home’s bottom line.
“What we made the decision to do as a board is, moving forward, we’re not building any new facilities unless they’re at least cash flow-even, therefore allowing us to further subsidize those in need,” explained Michael Heslov, board chairman. “We’re looking for ways to inject new income.”
That meant broadening the way the Jewish Home serves the community while tapping varied funding sources, public and private.
“We brought in some programs we thought would give us money that wouldn’t be dependent upon welfare, that would meet a community need, and would help keep people home,” Forrest said.
That’s not only smart, it’s necessary, according to Handy.
“They’re diversifying what they do. They are not putting all their eggs in one basket,” she said. “They’re not expanding with the same old services. They’re finding new ways to augment their mission.”
In the last decade, for example, the Jewish Home has started offering short-term rehab and opened the Skirball Hospice and the Auerbach Geriatric Psychiatry Unit. It even established the Annenberg School of Nursing, effectively creating its own source of medical professionals and cutting down on overtime and recruiting costs. Most recently, Fountainview, a luxury senior living center featuring an 80-seat movie theater and rooms with granite countertops, opened last year.
The strategy isn’t unique. The 140-year-old Jewish Home of San Francisco has spent the last three years re-envisioning its campus to potentially add options like independent living, assisted living and memory care, said Sherie Koshover, its chief advancement officer.
The timing, however, couldn’t have been any more urgent. The Medi-Cal cuts proposed for this year would erase $11 million in the San Francisco Home’s funding. With 86 percent of residents on Medi-Cal, increases in other expenses and a total budget of only $70 million, “That represents an untenable threshold,” Koshover said.
Still, she said, “The plan is not to contract. The plan is actually to expand because the need is there.”
Forrest couldn’t agree more, and if she has her way, this is only the beginning.
Next year, the Jewish Home is expected to roll out its first Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) at its Grancell Village campus. A federal program, it will be known at the Jewish Home as the Brandman Centers for Senior Care, and it will provide a full range of health care services for seniors living independently in the community in order to help keep them at home. This could include everything from meals to therapy to medical care.
“It’s a health care system for the elderly, is what we’re evolving into being,” Forrest said. “We call it the 5,000 Plan. We want to be serving 5,000 people within the next five years.”
Other efforts also are in the works to make that happen. In Culver City, a new campus is on the drawing board to reach out to the area’s significant Jewish population. Referred to as the Gonda Healthy Aging Westside Campus, it will offer a clinic, PACE center and range of living options for about 500 people.