FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
With healthcare reforms, reimbursement cuts and changing demographics, long-term care (LTC) organizations need to adjust their business to identify and capitalize on new opportunities, says Stephanie Handelson, Chief Operating Officer, Benchmark Senior Living. “For the savvy, forward-thinking operator, the future holds unlimited opportunities,” she adds. A speaker at the marcus evans Long-Term Care CXO Summit Spring 2011, taking place in Aventura, Florida, July 14-15, Handelson uncovers the opportunities in the LTC sector and discusses cost-cutting initiatives and best practices.
How will healthcare reforms affect the LTC providers?
Stephanie Handelson: The impact on the private pay sector will be minimal. Those who will be required to participate in Home and Community Waiver programs will have to provide care at a reduced rate, while maintaining the same quality of care and service. They will struggle with this, as the cost of providing care is increasing as reimbursement is cut. As 90 per cent of our business is private pay, we are less vulnerable to these reforms.
What opportunities in this sector can operators capitalize on?
Stephanie Handelson: For the forward-thinking operator, the future holds unlimited opportunities. For example, they may leverage the opportunity for expanded or unique options for seniors, like Concierge Medical Services. A recent article highlighted cosmetic surgery (a private pay business) as the fastest growing segment for seniors over 65. The most recent data reports a whopping 272 per cent increase over the previous reporting period. There is also great value in giving seniors the option to live with an unrelated companion, an often overlooked area.
Operators can expand their business to find more private pay revenue streams. Staying aligned with the business as it evolves is critical. The demographics of residents and buyers are changing, with older seniors moving into assisted living facilities and with more complex medical needs. The business model of many organizations has to change.
We have very forward-thinking processes and systems in place, which are designed to meet current needs yet agile enough to adjust with industry and economy shifts. Our business platform is based on strong execution through consistent, yet nimble, systems and processes utilizing Business Intelligence to proactively reposition with changing data.
What cost cutting steps have you taken?
Stephanie Handelson: Real time management of financial performance is key. Having mid-month financial reviews versus end of the month, helps us identify revenue shortfalls and expense overages and then have enough time to change tactics or pull back on expenses to meet financial goals.
I would recommend reviewing non-resident “touch” expenses aggressively and performing quarterly reviews of cluster communities to facilitate benchmarking of best practices and financial optimization.
What best practices for efficiently running LTC facilities would you advise?
Stephanie Handelson: A variable staffing model that staffs to acuity as well as occupancy is critical. Additionally, a fluid inventory management process that quickly leverages open inventory at the right price at the right time. Staying abreast of your market share and putting economic conditions aside to see how you compare with your peers puts a different lens on your results. Business Intelligence tools allow the organization to make proactive, data-driven adjustments that ensure the business is being driven through the use of data and not anecdotal information.
How do you ensure you stay patient-centered?
Stephanie Handelson: First, is our commitment to hire for “heart”. This is a people business and our employees need to love working with and for our residents. That is how we retain our resident-centered core and stay competitive.
Second, we are focused on staying closely aligned with our customers and have systems for capturing feedback on their experiences at critical touch points. This way we can have a real time “service recovery” system and keep a close eye on their experience through the customer lens. We rely on our systems to monitor the overall success of our relationships as the buyer is not the end user and has different wants and needs.
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About the Long-Term Care CXO Summit Spring 2011
This unique forum will take place at Fairmont Turnberry Isle, Aventura, Florida, July 14-15, 2011. Offering much more than any conference, exhibition or trade show, this exclusive meeting will bring together esteemed industry thought leaders and solution providers to a highly focused and interactive networking event. The Summit includes presentations on the Health Care Reform, innovative quality improvement, and staff recruitment and retention strategies.
Please note that the summit is a closed business event and the number of participants strictly limited.
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