Executive summary: Change isn't coming ... It's here

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John O'Connor
John O'Connor
I recently had the good fortune of interviewing three of the industry's top association executives. If their collective advice could be distilled to a bumper sticker-sized message, here's how it would read: Change is here, deal with it.

Last week at the LeadingAge show in Denver, I caught up with Larry Minnix. There, the president and CEO of LeadingAge challenged his members to become “crucibles of innovation.”

During a video interview, Larry also addressed why nonprofit operators need to deal with accountable care organizations in a proactive way.

“You'll either be a bundler or a bundlee,” he cautioned.

When we sat down with Gov. Mark Parkinson in Tampa earlier this month, the message was remarkably similar. Larry's counterpart at the American Health Care Association said that besides innovation, operators must demonstrate good care as never before.

“What's really changed is that quality has become a reimbursement issue…If we're going to be able to adapt to new payment models going forward, we're going to have to be able to hit these quality measures,” he noted.

Speaking of new measures, Robert Kramer provided his take on why it has become increasingly important for operators to document the value they provide. The founder and president of the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industry noted:

“There's a real focus now on controlling costs and also demonstrating outcomes.” Kramer added that more states are turning to managed care organizations to trim their outlays. The residual effect is likely to be “a capitated situation they're going to have to live with.”

For those of you keeping score at home, these three industry giants called on operators to innovate, focus on quality and learn to deal with tougher payment realities. These are hardly new insights. But they are certainly price-of-admission realities that will affect nearly every senior living operator.

Feel free to ignore them at your own risk. (Click here to find the video interviews.)

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McKnight's Daily Editor's Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor on Monday and Friday; Staff Writer Tim Mullaney on Tuesday, Editor James M. Berklan on Wednesday and Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman on Thursday.

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