Taking care of the basics in health and rehabilitative services for the aging population
Brinton Woods is a health and rehabilitation care provider in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. region. The company was formed in 2005, by Daren Cortese, Marvin Rabovsky and Gary Yankanich, three professionals with extensive experience in the long-term care industry. Brinton Woods purchased its first facility that year, acquiring the Golden Age Guest Home in Carroll County, Maryland and renaming it Brinton Woods Health and Rehabilitation Center at Winfield.
Cortese, who is now the President of Brinton Woods, recalls the company’s beginnings and subsequent growth: “We’d always been operators of skilled nursing facilities. We acquired a small nursing facility in Carroll County, Maryland in 2005, which started our company, and incrementally, we’ve grown from that one facility to five facilities, the most recent being acquired in January, 2015.”
According to Cortese, there was no set growth plan, other than to look for opportunities to take over skilled nursing facilities when they became available, recondition them, and add them to the Brinton Woods portfolio. “The facilities were in different levels of needing to be fixed up, operationally and physically,” says Cortese. “They were all underperforming assets at the time – which is not unusual in our business. And all five of these opportunities were challenging in their different ways, but we felt very confident that we could fix them.”
Brinton Woods’ acquired its second facility, a 225-bed facility in Northeast Baltimore, in 2007. It was re-christened the Brinton Woods Post Acute Care Center. Next, in 2008, was the conversion of the Arlington West Nursing Facility, in Northwest Baltimore, to the 82-bed, Brinton Woods Health and Rehabilitation Center at Arlington West.
In 2012, the company reached into the Washington, D.C. market and purchased Rock Creek Manor, a 180-bed facility, now known as the Brinton Woods Health and Rehabilitation Center at Dupont Circle. Its last acquisition, made earlier this year, was the Carolyn Boone Lewis Health Care Center. The new Brinton Woods Health and Rehabilitation Center of Washington, D.C. has 183 beds. Today, Brinton Woods’ five locations supply the area’s aging population with a total of 730 beds.
All Brinton Woods facilities provide a wide range of health and rehabilitation services both for long-term and short-term care needs, including internal medicine, wound care, diabetes management, pain management, surgical recovery care, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, respite care, palliative care, and hospice care services. The facilities also maintain an on-site physician, an on-site dietitian, social services and case management, a pharmacy, and laboratory, psychiatry, dentistry, podiatry, audiology, dermatology, and optometry support services for their residents.
In addition, Brinton Woods facilities offer robust, fun, and interactive activities and programs meant to engage their residents and promote their physical, mental, and social well-being. “We take care of people who are going to be staying with us for long periods of time, if not for the rest of their lives,” says Cortese. However, the goal for short-term patients is to “provide them nursing and rehabilitation services so they’re back to their best level of function and they can get back to their homes and their lives.”
Christine MacMillan is Brinton Woods’ Regional Director of Clinical Services. She describes how incoming patients are assessed: “We consider quite a few different things when we’re looking at admission criteria. We look at what medical needs they may have; what needs, as far as assistance with daily living – personal hygiene, ambulation; what their potential is, as well, because we partner with a rehabilitation company, so that we can provide physical, occupational and speech therapy. All these things figure into our admission criteria.”
Once a short-term care patient is admitted, all Brinton Woods’ 1017 employees strive to provide whatever services may be essential to get that person on to the next stage of care. “We try to be very quick with turnarounds for admissions,” explains MacMillan. “It’s something we pride ourselves on: to make sure that we can get everybody into the facility, to receive services, so that we can make their next transition either to home or to long-term care as smooth as possible and in the shortest possible time frame.”
While families in the Maryland/D.C. area may have many other choices for skilled nursing care services, Cortese points out how Brinton Woods’ success hinges on the ability of its staff to provide the highest level of care to its residents: “We are known as a local company; we’re small but we provide high quality care. A lot of times the customer is relying on a discharge planner in a hospital to make recommendations based upon geography and quality of care. And in most cases, those discharge planners are telling good stories about our quality of care, about our high staffing ratios. Medicare does a five-star rating on facilities and our facility ratings are very good. And that goes a long way in helping people to make the decision to choose our Brinton Woods facilities. We offer a good experience and have regular communications between our clinical and admissions teams and the feeding hospitals close to our facility locations.”
Jackie Cinquegrana, the company’s Regional Director of Communications and Admissions, adds, “Most people who tour our facilities, close to 90 percent, choose to come into our facilities because they enjoy the atmosphere; the facilities are also very community-friendly. The cleanliness and friendliness factor makes it easier for a family member to choose us.” Cortese says, “We never lose sight of the basics of our business. When someone can come into our facility and see that there are people living a full life, despite their medical challenges, they choose us.”
Cortese says that Brinton Woods has no immediate plans for new acquisitions, although should an opportunity arise, and the price is right, the business would be interested. But for the present, he says, “We don’t have to grow. We’re devoting a lot of resources, right now, to making our newest facility a better operation.” Cinquegrana adds, “We’re looking to grow responsibly, where we can staff adequately and continue to build that five-star reputation for our company.”
Echoing that proposition, MacMillan outlines some of company’s current initiatives: “We’ve been working to make sure that we have other programs, like diabetes management, certifying some of our nurses to be wound-care certified specialists, and working with our therapy company to provide things like specific plans for health maintenance pathways, so maybe when we’re sending some of our patients back home, they’re in a much better state than they were when they first came in to us, and, hopefully, they can maintain a longer time at home versus having to come back into the hospitals and the health care system.”
Another key element important to Brinton Woods management is making sure that all the buildings are adequately staffed. Regional Director of Human Resources, Diane Martinez, notes, “When recruiting to keep our facilities adequately staffed, we strive to make the employment experience a rewarding one because we value our employees as our most valuable asset.” Critical to that success is personalized patient care with the same caretakers continually on duty. “We’re very focused on making sure that our caretakers take care of the same group of patients,” says MacMillan, who further maintains that another priority is enhancing communications between Brinton Woods and its feeding hospitals, because she sees a Brinton Woods residency as “a continuation of care – that next step.”
Cortese laments that all too often in the skilled nursing industry, operators “lose sight of the basics.” But he asserts that Brinton Woods will always be committed to delivering individualized, high quality care in a warm, friendly environment, achieving its mission of being one of the best health and rehabilitation providers in the region. Because, as he maintains, “Our basics are well taken care of.”
AT A GLANCE
WHO: Brinton Woods
WHAT: Owner and operator of five nursing and rehabilitation centers
WHERE: Maryland and Washington, D.C.