Harvard University's School of Public Health is seeking to raise $5 million to establish a Center for the Future of Long-Term Care Systems.
Leaders in long-term care and related industries are being asked for financial and programmatic support. School of Public Health officials warned that the project remains in the conceptual stage. Until the endowment is secured, the center is far from becoming a reality, they said.
The proposed center will be designed to serve public and industry interests through focused research, leadership education and enhanced understand-ing of the role of long-term and sub-acute care in advancing health.
The center will bring together a group of people who will focus on issues affecting the broad continuum of nonhospital services, including home, assisted-living, skilled-nursing and life care, said Robert J. Blendon, chairman of the department of health policy and management.
Mr. Blendon said the Center for Long-Term Care Systems will recruit three or four key people to focus on long-term-care issues. In addition, it will draw on existing university resources. At least 50 Harvard academics are involved in some aspect of health policy research, he said.
Mr. Blendon will head the center's policy and politics section, one of four areas of focus (See chart).
"This is a very important mission and undertaking that I think can benefit the industry," said James B. Hoover, general partner of Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, a New York-based venture capital firm. Mr. Hoover helped identify industry leaders who met this spring to outline the center's mission and focus.
He believes the center's "broader, macro view" of the role of long-term care will help to prepare owners and opera-tors, whose business has been providing custodial care, to make the transition to providing medical services.
A description of the center has been mailed to a number of industry leaders, particularly those at large chains, but "nobody has made a (financial) commitment yet," Mr. Blendon said.
Robert N. Elkins, M.D., chairman and chief executive officer at Integrated Health Services, an Owings Mills, Md.-based long-term- and sub-acute-care provider, received Harvard's mailing and liked the idea, said Marc Levin, a company spokesman. "We're going to support it in some way," Mr. Levin said. He didn't know if Integrated's support would be financial.
The National Investment Conference for the Senior Living and Long Term Care Industries, an educational forum for owners, operators and financiers in long-term care, also has been approached, said Robert G. Kramer, the organization's director. Its leaders will participate in an upcoming meeting about the center because "we want to hear more about it," Mr. Kramer said.
A second meeting of industry leaders will be held after Jan. 1, 1995, to work on fund raising and planning, Mr. Blendon said.