Taking a Different Approach to Long-Term Healthcare
Institutions who care for the elderly and those in need of structured care have become the norm in the United States. Not everyone believes this is the only viable approach, or even the best one. Nestor Plana, the founder and CEO of Independent Living Systems, has long been in the business of providing an alternative approach that focuses on allowing people to remain part of their communities.
The Background of Nestor Plana
Born in Cuba, Nestor immigrated to the United States along with his family in the 1960s. His mother is often cited as the source for his support of the independent living model. She told her family that the last thing she wanted was to live out her last days in a nursing home. Her preference would be to remain in her home, surrounded by loved ones, and receiving support from medical professionals on an as needed basis.
Nestor took the wishes of his mother to heart, and made them so. Along the way, he also began to develop a philosophy based around the idea of people remaining in their homes while having access to a wide range of support services. Taking it one step forward, he began to see how this type of community based effort would be a cost-effective alternative to institutional living. What started out as the desire of a loving son to honor the wishes of his mother evolved into a concept that is today the driving force behind Independent Living Systems.
After years of working in the care industry, Nestor along with Ray Noonan laid the groundwork for Independent Living Systems. Founded in 2001, the company focused on creating an integrated platform to serve as an alternative to nursing home care. The approach focused on the needs of individuals and how to use community resources to meet those needs.
Along the way, the company took basics in new directions. An example is the creation of the Nutritional Support Services division in 2005. This division aimed at customized dietary plans that spoke to the needs of individuals who wished to remain at home. Further developments in later years lead to the creation of the company’s proprietary systems for supporting individuals with recently diagnosed conditions, and even helping patients transition back to a home environment after being in a nursing home or other institution.
The purpose of ILS remains clear even as the company continues to evolve. In a recent article, Nestor offers a succinct appraisal of what he and his company seek to accomplish:
“We help those with special needs age in place and live in community instead of living in an institution…The overall goal of independent living is to help patients that have chronic conditions to be able to live independently, as long as possible.”
The work of ILS is always evolving. In order to fulfill its stated purpose, the company developed Healthcare proprietary software known as eCare Central. The software provides the ability to organize relevant data for every patient, and identify how and what type of community care options can be combined to provide the level of support the patient needs.
A unique offering that is rarely found with other forms of long term healthcare is the Care Transition Services Program. This program is geared toward individuals who have spent time in some kind of institutional setting and are now ready to return to their communities. The focus of the program is to prevent the need for those individuals to return to an institution in the near future, something that happens all too often. The mix of support services offered increases the odds that the patient will be comfortable and well cared for within a private home setting.
ILS has added providers and agencies to its support network over the years, allowing it to expand in new locations other than just providing Miami healthcare support. The company has established offices in five states, and in the territory of Puerto Rico. That allows the network to provide ongoing services to over three million individuals. While many of those served are seniors, ILS also provides support to individuals who live with a wide range of disabilities.
Connecting People with Community Resources
The work of ILS requires providing the link between resources in the wider community with the people who need them. This involves managing people with needs and the providers who offer those essential services. In order to manage the task effectively, the systems used by the company make it possible to define needs, identify what forms of Medicare and Medicaid the patient is qualified to receive, and interacts with caregivers who are willing to work in compliance with those programs.
The company also interlines with locally operated organizations that help supply meals to patients, arrange transportation for doctor appointments, and even with hospice organizations that provide some type of regular visits to help with issues like taking medication or monitoring the condition of the patient.
Investment in People and Local Communities
Since the underlying premise of ILS is that people can receive excellent care in their own homes, the commitment to creating a network that taps into local services presents an investment in patients and in the community. People who are happy at home do not undergo the sometimes crushing financial stress associated with institutional care. At the same time, networking with local resources helps to create more jobs for those who truly care about providing aid to those who need long-term care in a home environment.
With no signs of slowing down in the future, the idea behind ILS and the original vision of Nestor Plana continues to gain attention and momentum around the country. There is no doubt that in the years to come, the company will develop additional resources that make it possible and practical for more people to spend their remaining years at home, rather than having to give up the communities they love in order to receive care in an institution.
Independent Living Systems (ILS) is a health-services company that develops, delivers and manages community-based services and nutritional support for millions of America’s Medicaid, Medicare, dual eligible, and Special Needs populations – including the blind, developmentally disabled, and children – through financial re-alignment programs such as:
- • Dual eligible demonstrations
- • Managed long-term services and support
- • Managed Medicaid
- • Special needs plans (SNPs)
- • Developmentally disabled
- • Accountable care organizations (ACOs)
In partnership with health plans; providers; hospitals; and pharmaceutical and medical device companies, ILS provides managed long-term support services aimed at improving health outcomes while rebalancing costs. The Company’s integrated offering, powered by eCare Central, ILS’ award winning technology platform, provides assistance beyond the clinical realm at every stage of care – from acute hospitalization through experiences with chronic illness, to personalized care management for the long term including nutritional support.
Independent Living Systems is committed to enhancing quality of life through innovative health and support solutions that help improve health outcomes, reduce costs, and foster independence.
Redefining Healthcare Values
Through its holistic approach to long-term care, ILS helps individuals balance social and medical services, with an emphasis on delivering compassionate, supportive care to as they recover and stabilize through a critical episode, chronic illness or the natural aging process. Too often, the notion of “healthcare” is reduced to clinical services, medical procedures and solutions aimed at a discrete condition. At ILS, industry-leading programs are uniquely designed to address the full spectrum of a person’s individual needs, including critical basic requirements of food, shelter and companionship. These programs lay the foundation for more effective clinical care and a happier, healthier individual.
Controlling Costs with Community Care
The key to controlling costs lies in transitioning long-term care from institutions back to the community. ILS is uniquely positioned to facilitate that transition. The ILS team draws on deep experience in managed care, especially for Medicare & Medicaid populations, and couples this with a commitment to restructure healthcare delivery in a way that enables efficient, cost-effective and personalized care.
ILS features five synergistic programs that help manage aging individuals through critical stages of care. ILS programs are designed to easily integrate into existing health plan models and together provide comprehensive, cost-effective long-term care. The company was founded in 2001, and today provides services to over 3 million covered lives on behalf of its health plan clients through operations across the U.S. and Puerto Rico.