eCap 2020 took place in Miami, FL from February 16-18, and this year’s conference was bigger and better than ever. Over 900 bankers, lenders, brokers, industry leaders, vendors, and executives could be found networking, commiserating, learning and of course- eating. Long Term Care is a very fluid industry with constant changes in the regulatory and funding landscape, and this year’s eCap discussions touched on many of the pertinent issues and opportunities facing our industry.
In case you missed it or would like a refresh, here are our key takeaways from the sessions and discussions:
Image – Time to Rebrand
During a session about regulatory issues, Howard Sollins, LTC attorney, made a point that really left me with an “aha” moment— Every other healthcare group, such as hospitals, set their own standards. It is time for LTC to set our own standards, rather than the government or regulators settings them for us. Our industry can set the standards high enough that the government will follow OUR lead.
A point that was reiterated during several sessions is that the time has come to change the image of what a long-term care facility is- we need to “rewrite the narrative”. The Boomer Generation says they will do anything to avoid going to a nursing home- it’s up to us to change our standards so we can change that perception.
Staffing- The Next Great Crisis
Anyone in LTC will not be surprised that staffing is an ongoing challenge. We all are familiar with the weekend call of not having enough nurses or CNA’s that didn’t show up. During this session, several providers highlighted that when they studied their staff turnover, they found it was not a lack of applicants stressing the system, it is the revolving door of employees.
The “churn” is very disruptive, the residents we are caring for are more acute and shorter-term, and our staff’s passion is waning. Session participants pointed out that the emphasis needs to be on staff retention vs. staff recruitment. Ronald Wilheim, Principal of Communicare Health Services has even invested in a Chief People Officer to assist with employee satisfaction and retention.
Get Involved – Political Advocacy
It’s our responsibility to educate the politicians so they have an accurate understanding of our industry and it’s complexities– and not leave their education to negative media attention and misguided opinions. As Robert Hartman, Founder of Symphony Care Network pointed out, it requires a grassroots effort and years of building relationships to influence policy.
We must start now by supporting our trade associations so they can be effective in lobbying for our industry.
The Evolution of LTC
The last few years have imposed major changes to our business models and revenue including PDPM, ISNP, ACOs, Bundled Payments and Managed Care. Additionally, the regulatory environment has become even more complicated and more costly to the provider. Since change is constant, and regulators are not going away, it’s imperative that the LTC provider remain forward-thinking to ensure profitability in today’s evolving landscape.
Technology is Critical
Across the board, the importance of technology was highlighted, including a Shark Tank-like competition for new technology coming from Israel. Norman Rokeach, CEO of Marquis Health Services, commented that SNF Metrics is an essential part of his operation. This data resource has become essential to his team, and their ability to make accurate and timely decisions with a real-time “picture” of their organization.
Finally, it’s an exciting, and scary, time to be an LTC provider. There is a great opportunity to serve our elders with the highest quality of care, while also being profitable. Associating with the right partners who are committed to your business and who are staying ahead of the curve can help your organization manage the chaos and grow through the changes.