How Miami Jewish Health is improving the lives of many of Miami’s elderly residents

Jeffrey P. Friemark President & CEO – Miami Jewish Health

 

What is the main concept behind the Memory Village, and how does it impact senior care when it comes to dementia and in particular, Alzheimer’s?

The Memory Care Village arose from an event we held on campus a couple of years ago to discuss the future delivery of care with the objective of a long-term master plan for the main campus. One of the things discussed was creating a new model of care for people who have some form of cognitive disorder, from early onset dementia all the way through the various stages of Alzheimer’s disease. One of the buzz terms in our industry is resident-centered care, and we intend to elevate this concept. There are several projects under development. The first is the village itself, designed to house 99 people in individual households. It will be in a setting with open and safe access to nature, other people, and a village square where residents can socialize, listen to music, shop or just relax in a serene environment.

How are centers like Miami Jewish Health System changing what it means to ofer care for an aging population?

There is no simple answer to that. The average age of our residents and patients has increased over the years. Of course, people are living longer and that creates both challenges and opportunities. At Miami Jewish Health, we work hard to keep our residents and our patients active. We are very proud of the quality of care provided. Miami Jewish Health actually provides care for more people in the community than in our facilities with the objective of keeping them out of nursing homes and institutions. Everybody wants to be able to live in their own home and neighborhood for as long as possible. We take care of several thousand individuals in South Florida, both in terms of case management as well as through the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) with the objective of keeping people out of nursing homes.

How can hospitals, especially nonprofits, manage costs at a time when they are on the rise?

We are, by our nature, committed to providing services to our community that we are in. We would not do anything to cut back on quality of care. I am sure that the same response would come from hospitals. However, we have to overcome the issues. Not all organizations will be able to do that, so there will be changes. The marketplace is dynamic. Organizations such as Miami Jewish Health committed to providing services, and doing it the right way, will solve issues. At the same time, we are going to advocate strongly that we are treated equitably from a reimbursement perspective, and not punitively from a regulatory perspective.