Chris Johnson, CEO, Landmark Health

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Chris Johnson has growth on his mind as he prepares to ring in the New Year as the new CEO of Landmark Health. The Huntington Beach, CA-based company provides in-home primary care to 175,000 elderly patients in 18 states. 

Johnson, who previously served as Landmark’s vice president of corporate development, plans to expand the company’s footprint to at least four more states and dive deeper into the communities that Landmark currently serves.

Johnson sat down with McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse to talk about his industry and the opportunities to treat more patients where they live.

McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse: What is your growth strategy for Landmark in the year ahead?

Chris Johnson: If you step back and look at Medicare overall, CMS has published data that 17% of Medicare beneficiaries have five or more chronic conditions … In Landmark generally our patients have six or more chronic conditions. Really to leap into that mission of transforming the way that patients age and grow old, we need to go well beyond those 175,000 patients. We see a lot of that by going deeper into the markets that we operate in. We are hoping to get to two times the number of patients that we’re serving by the end of next year. We still have to explain what we do when we go into a community. I hope by next year or the year after it’s no longer “what is this new model of care,” but really we’re moving toward there being a standard of care in the U.S. where in-home medical care is the expectation.

McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse: How do you reach deeper into those communities?

Chris Johnson: Historically, our primary customer has been Medicare Advantage plans where we will enter into full risk arrangements with those plans for their frailest and sickest patients. Increasingly, we are seeing the opportunity to partner with medical groups to have that same relationship … The big opportunity — and I think this will take some work — is how do we increasingly have traditional Medicare be able to support models like this. So who is the payer isn’t determining whether you have access to these types of services … Our goal is that any patient in the community should have access to these services.

McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse: There is growing competition in this space  — from CVS to Amazon. Do you see these companies as competitors or potential partners?

Chris Johnson: I always view Landmark as not competing directly against a good or service today, but really targeting consumer non-consumption — where we see there to be a huge clinical unmet need. We’re excited to see the continued innovation in this space. Even though we’re very comprehensive in the services that we offer, we still rely deeply on our partnerships with other parts of the healthcare ecosystem — whether that is home health agencies that we partner with to better manage the care or the hospitals where you end up  having care post-acute, as well as having other entrants come into the space. I think [competition] will only spur innovation. It’ll continue to help us get better. It’ll help us be able to provide even better care.

McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse: What do you view as the most important policy or policies coming out of Washington?

Chris Johnson: For us, it’s traditional Medicare continuing to be comfortable thinking about capitation-style arrangements with providers — really models that allow providers providing care to be compensated for the value they create for the patient and for the system. I think that is the core of what will help transition to home. I think higher reimbursement rates for care in the home without the accountability of that value-based arrangement will struggle. One of the unique things about the home is it’s more expensive, but we believe when you do it right, it’s more clinically effective and it prevents a lot of downstream costs in the system. I’ve also been very passionate about CMS, as the largest payer in the country, looking for ways to engage more with their beneficiaries to educate them on the different services that are available to them where they live.