During the last few years, the evolution of Crescent Healthcare’s business model and creation of partnerships has helped the company improve internal operations while making sure that patients are getting the right care at the right price. Founded in 1992, Crescent is an infusion company and provider of integrated pharmacy and nursing solutions in alternate site settings. Offering infusion services at home for patients with chronic conditions, it is a leading figure in the alternate site infusion sector. 

The company has nine clinical centers around the country providing comprehensive infusion therapy service with expertise in chronic therapies like intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) therapy and Remicade. The company’s clinicians and specialists work with physicians, patients, and payors to find the right treatment location, whether that is the home, a physician office clinic, or a hospital outpatient clinic. 

Its original business model was to provide alternate-site IVIG therapy. Three years after the company’s founding, it added skilled nursing services so it could offer more comprehensive solutions for those patients dealing with chronic and acute disorders. The company further expanded its scope in 1998 after purchasing Apria Healthcare’s home infusion operations in California, and private investment groups including Frontenac Masters VIII and MedEquity subsequently purchased controlling interest in Crescent in 2004. 

Partnership approach 

That’s when Bob Funari was brought in to serve as Crescent’s chairman and CEO. One of Funari’s goals over the last few years has been to partner with health plans, hospitals, and physician groups. The partnership approach has helped Crescent grow by around 20% annually since the investment groups acquired the company.

To accommodate the business model, the company restructured somewhat, creating separate business units for chronic therapy delivery and IVIG therapy. The idea was to encourage creation of partnerships by recognizing the fact that decisionmakers and clinical delivery are different for each business. 

The model began producing results immediately when it was first proposed in 2006. 

That was when Crescent partnered with Anthem Blue Cross of California in response to Anthem’s plan to cut reimbursement for infusion therapy. In the first year and half of the partnership, Crescent’s delivery methods and programs helped Anthem save roughly $7.5 million. 

New partnerships continue to be part of Crescent’s focus. Last fall, the company reached agreement with Providence Health & Services, California to bring its medical management solutions to three of Providence’s hospitals in the Los Angeles area. The partnership is designed to coordinate care for Providence’s infusion patients and to help the organization raise clinical and financial performance.

“We have had significant success in assisting hospitals with hospital patient throughput,” Funari stated after the partnership was announced. “We look forward to applying our methodologies to Providence’s specific challenges to reduce costs at its Valley hospitals while providing smooth transitions into ambulatory care for its patients.”

With patients, clinicians, and payors, Crescent works to ensure that all commitments are filled. As part of providing quality care, the company offers educational resources to patients to help them understand exactly what treatment entails. With more than decade of experience in infusion pharmacy and nursing services, the company can work with physicians and hospitals to be sure patients know their options. In addition, Crescent’s pharmacy is licensed in 35 states so patients aren’t out of luck when out of state. 

The company also helps clinicians with infusion therapy education by having its intake specialists, pharmacists, and nurses discuss treatment options and work through the referral process to be sure physicians are also satisfied that the right treatment setting is selected. The company offers educational lectures on various topics and is a Board of Registered Nursing continuing education provider in California.

As for payors, Crescent’s services are valuable because it can move patients from hospitals to alternate settings, which can be beneficial in terms of economic and clinical outcomes. Payors are seeking to lower medical costs while improving clinical quality patient satisfaction. Crescent helps them meet those goals in several ways. 

First, the company’s ambulatory infusion centers are co-located with its pharmacies. They are alternate sites for infusion patients that help lower nursing costs associated with therapy delivery while maintaining high patient-care standards. Then there are disease state management programs. Built to suit acute and chronic therapies, the programs are designed to produce positive clinical and economic outcomes. 

In addition, Crescent’s hospital bed-day reduction programs decrease hospital days by cutting down on unnecessary admissions and decreasing length of stay. And its utilization review and quality management initiatives can be customized for the needs of the payor. Analyses can include cost per diagnosis group, cost per therapy type, and physician practice patterns, and the company will work with payors to look at data to find ways to maximize financial results down the road.

Proof in the pudding

There is little doubt that Crescent’s efforts since Funari took the helm are bearing fruit. In fact, Funari has earned some recognition for the company’s success. This June, he was named winner of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2010 Award in the Turnaround category in Orange County/Desert cities, which makes him eligible for consideration for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2010 national program. Although it was a welcome personal honor, Funari was quick to point out that it is the work of the entire Crescent team that has enabled the company to grow.

“I am privileged and honored to accept this award on behalf of the 600 people at Crescent Healthcare who provide exceptional patient care to over 4,000 individuals each month,” Funari said after receiving the award.

Indeed, the company is looking for ways to continue to grow and intends to establish more centers and improve its IT resources. With new technology and new facilities, Crescent should be able to showcase its capabilities to more healthcare decisionmakers around the US in the years to come.

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Summer 2013

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