The recent spring NIC conference in Dallas was a little more sober than recent conferences. Coming right after Brookdale Senior Living’s various announcements and stock plunge, plus the bankruptcy filing of HCR ManorCare, some people were a bit more circumspect about how the sector was doing.
I did continue my poll of private company CEOs and the impact of the flu season on operations. Still batting 1,000, as everyone I asked said the flu was having minimal, if any, impact on census. It was the other factors we highlighted in the March issue.
There was something else we noticed. The traditional sessions on things like private equity investing or lending to the senior care market were standing room only. But sessions talking about selling managed care plans to your residents, or the secrets to winning managed care contracts, or the survival guide to getting in-network with hospitals to maintain census, barely had 25% of the seats filled.
This is a problem, and it says that people are still not understanding how the entire seniors housing and care business will be transformed in the next 10 years. It will impact census, marketing, staffing and much more, but definitely cash flow.
On a sad note, we just learned that Tony Mullen, one of the co-founders of NIC and instrumental in building up the organization, died suddenly last weekend. Our condolences to his family.