This sneak peek is worth a look

John O'Connor
John O'Connor

Has it ever been more difficult to run a long-term care organization? Probably not.

Rules are constantly changing, funding is never enough, and staffing challenges are a perennial issue. New competitors are moving in, just as traditional ways of being reimbursed are about to change. It's no picnic.

Given these and other challenges, you'd think there would be a lot more industry folks in Washington this week for the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care's Fall conference, which kicks off Wednesday.

Pound for pound, there is no event that affords a better opportunity to make business-generating connections, learn more about why and when to invest, position an organization — or gain the latest data and insight about what is actually going on.

You can still register here. But be warned: Founder Robert G. Kramer intentionally keeps the crowd low. His reasoning is simple: This is a deal-making event, not another trade show. My advice for those who can't get in the door is to register early for next year.

Our annual Dealmaker's Handbook supplement appears in the September issue of McKnight's Long-Term Care News. I mention this because among other things, it features an interview with Mr. Kramer. If anyone else knows more about the market, I've yet to meet him. To give you a taste, here are a few questions and his excerpted replies:

Q: You recently said that skilled operators need to have a two-pronged strategy: short-term for survival, long-term for growth. What is the reasoning here?

A: If you only focus on the future and what you need to do to be attractive to the new model of healthcare system and delivery of payments, you may not survive to get to that future. And if you only focus on present survival, you will suddenly find yourself in a game of musical chairs when partners are chosen and be left out.

Q: What are some of the innovative housing and care options you're seeing that really excite you?

A: We're seeing the application of technology like wearables and other sensors for people who have chronic morbidities and/or multiple functional ADL needs. Adoption won't be fast because of privacy concerns here. It will not be an insignificant issue and it's more than just HIPAA. There are a lot of huge breakthroughs, and insurance companies are going to be all over them.

Q: What NIC accomplishments/milestones are you most proud of?

 A: Our conferences have a reputation for providing educational programs that are a barometer of where the industry is and where it's likely to go. We're also proud of our focus on transparency and bringing data and analytics to the space. We did events first and then data. Then we took data to the local market level where investment decisions need to be made and now we have enough data to do meaningful analytics. Going forward, I'm also excited about these other things we're doing in pursuit of our mission, like leadership development.

The full interview can be read in our Dealmakers Handbook supplement. To be sure, it's hardly a substitute for being at the show. But it's a rare operator who won't glean a few useful nuggets from what Mr. Kramer has to say, no matter the venue.

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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Emily Mongan.

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