Building an Age-Friendly Health System in New York State, Phase 3
Special Projects Fund
December 12, 2023
Our health systems are not prepared for the complex health needs of patients ages 60 and older, who will make up 25% of New York State’s total population by 2040.
Older adults encounter barriers to care and experience avoidable harm from overmedication, preventable falls, and treatable cognitive concerns. The Age-Friendly model provides a standardized approach for providing high-quality care to older adults centered on the “4Ms”: What Matters, Medication, Mentation (i.e., care for delirium), and Mobility. When implemented together, the 4Ms result in significant improvements in patient experience and quality outcomes. In 2019, New York State set an ambitious goal to designate 50% of its health care sites as Age-Friendly. Recently, the Governor issued an executive order that mandates the establishment of a New York State Master Plan on Aging where the Age-Friendly Health Systems model is recognized as a cornerstone of the effort. In 2020, NYHealth awarded the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) a grant to support the launch of the initial phase of a New York State Age-Friendly action community. In 2021, NYHealth awarded HANYS a second grant to build upon and continue this initiative. New York State is now more than halfway toward reaching its goal of achieving Age-Friendly recognition among 50% of health systems; however, under-resourced hospitals in upstate and rural regions have faced barriers to participation. In 2023, NYHealth awarded HANYS a third grant to continue scaling and operating the Age-Friendly Health Systems action community while laying the groundwork for statewide scaling and sustainability.
Under this grant, HANYS will work with at least 50 new and returning hospital systems, federally qualified health centers, and skilled nursing facilities across the State to achieve Age-Friendly recognition. HANYS will provide individualized technical assistance, group coaching sessions, and tools to put the 4Ms into practice. Sites will test out changes like prescription modifications, care coordination, and end-of-life conversations; use data to monitor outcomes; and submit required documentation to achieve recognition. HANYS will also facilitate partnerships among health care sites, area agencies on aging, and community-based organizations and establish a well-built referral network, including social services options, for older adults. Partners will craft joint strategic plans to improve care transitions and workflows. Finally, HANYS will work with sites to make the business case for sustained investment in the 4M framework. It will disseminate findings among health system leaders and policymakers to advocate for widespread adoption of Age-Friendly care across the State, including as part of forthcoming initiatives like the State’s Master Plan on Aging, Medicaid waiver, and value-based payment models.