Seniors Housing Business

FEB-MAR 2018

Seniors Housing Business is the magazine that helps you navigate the evolution of the seniors housing industry.

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Page 43 of 56 43 February-March 2018 n Seniors Housing Business that the Great Recession didn't hit other cohorts as hard as it did the Baby Boomers, who don't have as many remaining working years to make up losses. Additionally, the Economic Pol- icy Institute reports that increas- ingly, individual savings have been replacing pensions along- side a decreasing amount of Social Security benefits. With all these catalysts, those familiar with the historical arc of seniors housing say change is imminent. Chuck Hastings, vice president of finance and business develop- ment for Bloomfield, N.J.-based Juniper Communities, cites the increasingly common practice of developing affordable indepen- dent living buildings that rely on outside services for care. These types of properties could perhaps be viewed as a bellwether of a changing industry. "Some are saying, 'Hey, isn't that assisted living without the regulations?' It's the same tension that our industry has had for four decades." Hastings explains the evolution of this tension: Dramatic cuts to hospital Medicare reimbursements in the 1980s spawned the growth of skilled nursing. Stressed by los- ing patients, hospitals argued that skilled nursing was inferior and patients weren't getting proper care in skilled nursing. The cycle continued in the 1990s, when skilled nursing became an institutional model that many argued was overregulated. This led to the growth of assisted liv- ing, which then prompted the skilled nursing segment to assert that assisted living wasn't the appropriate care environment. "The same thing is happening all over again," says Hastings. "This third phase of overregulation is combined with a distraught con- sumer sentiment about assisted living. This is the normal dynamic and tension in our industry. It will eventually sort itself out, but it's going to be very interesting to see what the regulators do." State regulations, including building codes and mandates that require packages of services, play a large role in the pricing for consumers. "The providers and operators are having a good dialogue right now, but if we really want to ele- vate this conversation, we have to ratchet it up about five levels higher so we can have this con- versation on a national level," says Wollschlager. "We need to inform the individuals who have the power to impact cost in the regula- tory environment." Wollschlager strongly encour- ages states to examine more con- sumer-driven options versus regu- latory-driven requirements. "Most of the states essentially took skilled nursing regulations, made a few modifications, then slapped the words 'assisted liv- ing' on them. Services provided to a resident need to be on an indi- vidual-by-individual basis based on a specific care plan. Otherwise, people are going to be paying for services they don't need." Rick Banas, vice president of development and positioning for Bradley, Ill.-based Gardant Man- agement Solutions, concurs that the responsibility falls on the seniors housing industry to be more vocal about assisted living. "The industry will need to show Medicare, managed care and ACOs how it's a better, more cost- effective option for someone to live in assisted living rather than live in a nursing home or on their own. We do a lot of that here in Illinois to remind key legislators of the benefit." n We're reaching for the stars... are you one of them? Independent, Assisted & Memory Care Living 3 Edgewater Drive Norwood, MA 02062 781-619-9320 LCB Senior Living is the fastest-growing senior housing organization in the northeast. With communities in New England and the Mid-Atlantic states, we offer the finest Independent, Assisted and Reflections Memory Care living.

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