Take advantage of the changing long-term care marketplace, top execs urge

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Larry Minnix, LeadingAge president and CEO
Larry Minnix, LeadingAge president and CEO
Long-term care providers should hone in on the changing needs of their market by embracing what customers want and will pay for, and by working to change the profession's image problem, LTC executives said Monday.

Hospice is a good example of an industry that has been able to focus on what people want and need at the end of their lives, and how it's perceived better by consumers, declared Larry Minnix, the president and CEO of LeadingAge. Instead of the amount of time fighting against reimbursement cuts, the long-term care industry should evaluate what customers are looking for in a long-term care environment, he added.

“There has been too much time on reimbursement, and not enough about what people will pay for,” Minnix explained.

“We've been fighting the wrong battles for too long,” he later added. “We have to pick the right battles.”

Minnix was part of an august panel of leaders convened by the American College of Health Care Administrators at the group's annual meeting Tuesday in Nashville. Also taking part were Mark Parkinson, the president and CEO of the American Health Care Association; Richard Grimes, the president and CEO of the Assisted Living Federation of America; Randy Lindner, executive director of the National Association of Boards of Examiners of Long Term Care Administrators; and Marianna Grachek, ACHCA's president and CEO. Dan Farley, PhD, CNHA, FACHCA, moderated the panel discussion.

The executives agreed that improving quality will help compel changes in perception.

“We have in long-term care an enormous image problem, “ Parkinson said, citing how a Kaiser survey showed that 96% of Americans don't want to go into a nursing home. AHCA has increasingly been focused on statistics and data over anecdotes to prove its quality case, he noted.

“We have to be able to go to policymakers and say, ‘We are objectively getting better,'” he said.

Two ways to help the industry are creating the next generation of leaders and drawing more people into professional associations, the association leaders agreed. Roughly half of all nursing homes are not involved in a trade association, Minnix said.

Grachek added that it is incumbent on those attending the college's convocation to find and mentor future administrators.

“We do eat our own,” she said. “It is our job to make sure administrators provide effective, accountable care.”

Video of the panel discussion will be posted next week at www.yourcestore.com.

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