Medical Cost Offset: The Role of Psychology at Signature HealthCARE

Posted by Dr. El - November 3, 2010 - For All - 2 Comments

Part Three of a Three Part Series



I recently interviewed Jeff A. Beaty, D.H.Ed., LMSW, QDCP, SSBB, Chief Development Officer for Signature HealthCARE, about the role of psychology at Signature.
I was pleased to hear that in addition to providing direct care to residents (which is generally paid through the resident’s insurance), Signature contracts with psychologists at least 20 hours per month for additional consultation. Their work includes:
  • Staff training
  • Assistance with research projects
  • Intervening with staff as needed with particular residents
The services have resulted in medical cost offset through:
  • Reduced use of psychopharmacology
  • Reduced inpatient hospitalizations
According to Beaty, Serenity provides training programs to educate staff on the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia, particularly agitation. These psychosocial interventions have been shown to reduce caregiver emotional distress, he reports.
Serenity HealthCARE, in conjunction with the International Center for Long-Term Care Innovation and its partners, also has several ongoing research projects geared toward helping those with dementia lead more satisfying lives. One study focuses on matching residents and staff by personality type and attitude, anticipating an improvement in quality of life for residents and staff, reduced resident/staff conflicts, and improved employee retention. It reminds me of what my old supervisor used to say (and I have found to be true): “There’s a lid for every pot.”
I’m always interested to hear how mental health interventions reduce other costs, so if you have an example at your facility, please feel free to email me via the Contact button in the right sidebar, or add your comment below.