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Senior Living and the Health Care System -- Friend or Foe

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By Steve Moran

The theme of the NIC Spring Investment Conference was “Shock to the System: Survive and Thrive in a Rapidly Changing Seniors Health Care Model". There is no doubt that the healthcare system is radically changing and that it will impact all sectors of senior living.  

Today and really forever skilled nursing has been a part of the system . . .  too often the poor stepchild, though that is beginning to change. To this point, assisted living has been with rare exceptions, all but irrelevant. That is likely to change but it is pretty fuzzy as to what it will look like and whether or not it will end up being a kind of making a deal with the devil.

The 50,000 Foot View

Over the next few weeks there will be a number of stand-alone articles that will have their genesis in the NIC Spring Investment Conference, but these are the highlights, including a photo gallery.

  • By The Numbers -- This spring conference had more than 1,500 attendees, with a pretty typical mix of capital providers (the biggest group), senior living developers and operators (#2 in size); transactional folks and vendor types make up the smallest segment.

  • Networking -- A few weeks ago we published an article on networking at NIC specifically 

    but it is actually pretty generic for any conference. This year for Christmas my wife got me one of those little $5.00 click counter devices that I carry in my pocket to get a rough count of the number of personal interactions I have with people at conferences. My guess has been that the number will approach 1,000 but that could be low. At this conference I had 143 conversations, some long and some very short. This brings my 5 conference total to 335.  

  • Skilled Nursing -- This NIC had more of a skilled nursing focus than any of the other 5 or 6 I have attended. This is no surprise since the focus was the health care delivery system and skilled nursing has always been entirely captive to . . .  even a part of the health care delivery system.  

    The unfortunate reality is that even though there are 15,000 skilled nursing facilities taking care of more than 1,500,000 mostly elderly folks, they have mostly been the beggars, not having a serious place at the table. This is changing for a variety of reasons, but the most significant of which is that they actually save the system money . . . and mostly do a better job of getting people back on their feet.

    It looks like this is turning into an article so more later.

  • Better Skilled Nursing Data -- The data coming out of NIC has mostly focused on non-skilled nursing data and that is changing. Concurrent with the Spring Conference NIC announced a new skilled nursing data report that will be issued quarterly, but based on monthly data collection efforts. The first report includes national data but as the number of participating facilities increase the report will be expanded to include regional data. Here are the highlights of the first report:

    • Occupancy declined by 180 basis points

    • Managed Medicare increased by 1.3%

    • Managed Medicare rates have decreased by 10.1%

    • Medicare rates oscillated suggesting case mix volatility with a daily rate of around $500.

    • Medicare rates per patient day increased at a cumulative annual rate of 1.26%

You can download the report HERE.

As always the best part of the conference is getting together with great old friends and meeting new ones. Enjoy the photos below.

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