Jim Carlson is the CEO of the Oregon Health Care Association (OHCA), a nonprofit and the largest long term care trade association in Oregon, representing more than 90 percent of long term care providers in the state. With over 30 years of experience in healthcare, Jim Carlson is widely recognized as a leader in long term care and health policy in Oregon.
We had the opportunity to virtually sit down with Jim and discuss the partnership between OHCA and Incite, how COVID-19 has affected the long term care sector, and what vendors can do to better support senior living operators.
MEMBER PURCHASING PROGRAM
What influenced your decision to choose Incite to manage your Member Purchasing Program?
OHCA formed our own group purchasing program about 20 years ago and as our membership grew, we developed a large program serving members across nearly three dozen states. Over time, we began to recognize that we could do better and provide more benefit and value to members. That’s really where Incite came in. Through our conversations with them, we felt we could build a better program, directed and driven by members. Our program with Incite is already disrupting the marketplace by going beyond what a traditional group purchasing does.
At OHCA, we’re focused solely on the long term care market and we have our finger constantly on what the needs are to serve our members. By sharing these needs with the Incite team, Incite can go out to market and identify solutions and strategies to these needs and bring them back to the program.
I think for the first time in 20 years of operating this program, we have a partner that can really help us execute on our vision. The experience and quality of the team and the alignment they have with those core values is really exciting. In just a short period of time, the Incite team has forged partnerships and relationships with the best-in-class partners and programs. These are leading organizations that providers want to be aligned with for the long haul. The high-quality partnerships that have already been formed will bring a tremendous value to our members.
What do you think Incite’s vision for purchasing brings to long term care?
Everyone is looking for cost savings. That’s a constant and Incite can excel there. They can bring our smallest independent member the same kind of purchasing value that the largest organizations can receive.
But the vison of where Incite is headed goes further. They’re looking for other kinds of strategic services they can offer that will increase their value to an organization. Strategies to help them with payers, how to be more effective delivering higher quality of care, finding robust platforms to train the workforce and more. That’s where Incite is very different and quite disruptive to the run of the mill purchasing organization. Incite was created to be a partner for the industry. They’re more attuned to the needs of the sector and they’ve got provider DNA in their genes.
THE IMPACT OF COVID-19
How has OHCA helped member organizations during the pandemic?
We’ve worked in close partnership with our member organizations and our federal affiliates as well as marshalled tremendous support at the state level. We’re at the front lines of this pandemic and have been focused 7 days a week since the virus first arrived in the United States to support them in every way that we can, from everything related to testing, staffing waivers, getting personal protective equipment (PPE) where it’s needed, increasing Medicare, and more.
Having access to Incite and their suppliers has been invaluable to us during this time, especially as we help members navigate PPE issues.
What do you see as the long-term impact of COVID-19 for the senior healthcare system?
I’ve been at this association for over 26 years and in healthcare for 35 years and I’ve never seen anything like this. Folks are doing some heroic efforts on the front lines and I’ve never been prouder to represent this profession.
I think there are a couple of things we’ll see near- and long-term across the entire healthcare system. We’ll see a significant increase in utilization of PPE. I believe we’ll also see marketplace innovation related to infection detection and control prevention. I think these measures will extend broader into society beyond just long term care. Infection detection, control, and prevention are going to be at the forefront of people’s minds.
Organizations like Incite will be mission critical for operators to help them adapt to the rapidly changing environment. They can bring solutions to providers quickly and from top-tier vendors. Being aligned with the right partner gives you access to cutting information and we’re going to need good allies and partners to return to a semblance of normal.
What steps should vendors take to support senior living operators?
You have to get out of your box and look at the challenges your customer is facing. It’s important to be in the solutions business and not the problem business. You need to look at what you can bring to the table to help them be successful. Those things are going to look a little different for each vendor. Everybody wants to get the product at the right pricing. Having someone who is a strategic partner is a real differentiator.