Quality of Care in Life and Business – Mark Hansen, CEO
Experiences Set the Tone
For Alanté CEO Mark Hansen, senior care is personal.
The son of a small-town doctor, Hansen founded Alanté as a virtual healthcare solution that aims to create both better quality of life for the patient, and peace of mind for the family. Alanté is built around the premise that state-of-the-art healthcare can be done—virtually.
“I have always worked to make a difference in the arenas that matter most to me and my family. Senior care is one of those arenas.”
Hansen added that this is his way to empower and give security to an aging population.
Hansen’s father dedicated a large portion of his practice to geriatric care. Additionally, Mark’s disabled grandmother lived with the family during his entire childhood in an adjoining apartment where she was able to maximize her independence while getting the assistance she needed.
“After many years of enjoying Saturday morning tea and buns, I saw my grandmother reach the end of life very quickly once she entered a nursing home,” Hansen recalled. “It was an extremely impactful set of events, but knowing she had such an outstanding quality of life and independence was comforting.”
These set of events led to a lifelong passion for Hansen of seeking quality of life for seniors by maximizing their independence while delivering supportive services.
Opportunity and Origins
Hansen entered the working world as an intrepid commercial real estate appraiser. As you can imagine, the path from the world of land and buildings to virtual healthcare is not a straight line.
He soon had the opportunity to join a firm focused on senior housing and healthcare, which ignited his passion for further learning and understanding of the needs of seniors. This passion quickly expanded into senior housing and healthcare consulting, assisting some of the greatest minds in the field to realize their strategic visions of providing exceptional services and care for seniors.
“I believe consulting work in senior housing and the healthcare real estate industry allowed me to stay ahead of trends,” he added. “If you looked at the demographics of the country, it was clear there were gaps in what would be needed to house everyone, especially for our aging population. It gave me the opportunity to make a difference in seniors’ lives, allowing me to expand on my knowledge that started at home with my father and my grandmother.”
With the goal of elevating care for seniors, Hansen and his partners recognized there was a large gap both in skilled nursing in the market as well as in philosophy. Combining his business sense with his understanding of how the healthcare system treated seniors, his team honed in and launched Santé, keeping in mind his father’s belief that quality of life for seniors can only be achieved through ensuring their independence while supporting their needs.
Through partnership and investments, Hansen became and still serves as CEO and president of Santé, a senior and post-acute healthcare company, focused on compassionate care.
“By investing in skilled nursing and ‘quality of life,’ we would be able to provide patients with an entirely new way to look at their care: Instead of long-term care, let’s get the patients back home as our primary focus,” explained Hansen. “My father would always tell me do whatever you can to keep people in their home and their community—where they have a sense of community and independence. I really wanted to bring that to our ventures.”
“Families have the best intentions when considering care for their loved ones, whether it be through selecting a facility or moving them from their home,” he added. “However, the reality is that they cannot meet all of the needs that aging patients often require.”
Isolation and depression in senior care facilities are very real concerns. At the same time, psychological and societal structure concerns for the patient are commonly overlooked in the name of security or formalities, rather than simply identifying the route to the best quality of life.
“Regardless of age, everyone needs a purpose. We, as people, need community and structure.”
In explaining these key considerations, Mark often leans on the example of how pets give purpose to people. Ample medical research exists that supports this widely accepted view (The Waltham Book of Human-Animal Interaction: Benefits and Responsibilities of Pet Ownership, Human–Animal Interaction and Older Adults: An Overview). However, it was clear to Hansen and his team that these simple considerations were often not implemented when developing the system that is senior care.
Santé delivers short-term skilled nursing and rehabilitation to get patients back in their homes as the primary goal. The company, led by Hansen, consistently advocates for patients’/residents’ rights, and deems “quality of life” the guiding light of its work.
The company continues to operate in the face of a healthcare system that, at best, is difficult to navigate from both the patient and provider sides. Santé fills a massive need in a system beset by issues of tracking and coordination of patient care from the start of and throughout a medical event.
“We, as a company, still see these larger systematic healthcare issues as completely avoidable, and we work to address what we can from our side in the private sector,” noted Hansen.
Efforts for the Cause
Hansen believes the larger picture of geriatric care management is still not being seen. Our healthcare system needs fixes and solutions that are delivered from the highest levels.
“Physicians can’t fix the system. Families of patients are typically in the midst of a medical event before they realize the challenges that our system produces,” Hansen said.
Medicare started to provide funding for chronic care management (CCM), which gave the private sector more latitude to provide solutions, and Hansen began seeking solutions that would help solve the lack of continuity of care for patients.
Alanté Is Born
The vision of a virtual healthcare company is to help solve the continuity of care issues as they specifically relate to seniors and patients with more complicated medical conditions. It also seeks to treat patients in their homes, where they have a purpose and their highest level of comfort, thus reducing stress levels and strain.
Alanté provides a spectrum of services aimed to solve issues of continuity while elevating the patient experience. If this were a math equation, the subsequent answer would be measurable increases in quality of life.
Hansen says that hiring Debra Wertzberger as COO of both Santé and Alanté provides an operational visionary at the helm: “She has distinguished herself as a senior healthcare authority.”
Wertzberger brings a background of law, nursing, government and business to Alanté. More importantly than her accreditations, Hansen believes she views care for seniors in the same way he does, and that she has the expertise and know-how to get the job done in the trenches.
The ability to actually “do good” and have an impact, all while being successful in business, is rare. The story of Mark Hansen’s endeavors cannot be told without speaking to his levels of integrity.
Hansen and his partners engaged in opportunities where they believed they could improve quality of life for seniors. They distinguished themselves by being experts in the field, and leaning heavily on the insight provided by personal experience. Hansen leans on passion and purpose every day, as he seeks to contribute more to the field he is most connected to, using his unique combination of knowledge and acumen.
“What’s great about being successful is that it gives you the opportunity to do more for what you’re passionate about,” he said.
The crusade continues as Alanté, a healthier approach to healthcare.