Elkart moves ahead of the curve

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

ELKHART, Ind. - Greg Lintjer thinks it makes a lot of sense for home medical equipment and healthcare staffing to work in tandem.

Beginning July 1, Elkhart General Healthcare System and American Nursing Care (ANC) will become equal partners in a joint venture, Elkhart General Home Care, that will offer home health care, home infusion services and home medical equipment.

"Our belief is that if you have an organization that is associated with you, either by being a department of the hospital or by having a joint venture like this, you've moved up the control curve," said Lintjer, president of Elkhart General Healthcare, a non-profit community health system. "You're able to offer a service that's consistent with where you want to be as an organization, versus if you simply make referrals to any provider in the community."

ANC, which has 23 locations in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, will close a small office in nearby Mishawaka, and consolidate its staff with Elkhart General Home Care. Partnering with ANC will bring some critical mass to Elkhart, including greater purchasing power, marketing skills and billing efficiencies, said Lintjer. 

With healthcare reform placing ever-greater emphasis on cost savings and quality of care, HME and homecare are going to play a critical role going forward, said Lintjer.

But don't overlook what's really important, he said.

"People use healthcare costs as a kind of mantra these days," said Lintjer. "I prefer to talk about giving people the right care, in the right place, at the right time. It's all about right-sizing, and if right-sizing leads to lower costs, than so be it."