James M. Berklan

For anyone doubting the viability or need to follow the skilled nursing market, the proof is before us this week.

Margins crimped? Regulations getting tougher? (… Or not, under the current administration?) Funding always a challenge?

To at least some degree, yes, yes and yes.

But you see, for as long as I’ve rubbed elbows with the long-term care crowd, there has been one true-North indicator that one could trust to pay attention to. If it were a company, its stock price would have gone through the roof, and then the renovated, taller roof by now.

Which would be only fitting because financing, real estate, building and renovations are at the very core of this hot commodity’s mission. I’m talking, of course, about the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care.

Long known as the “money men” group for a crowd that generally fancies independent and assisted living and other lower health-acuity operations, NIC now features more women in more prominent roles, and it’s added some gravitas to its touches with the highly regulated nursing home world. A handful of years ago, NIC made a statement by purchasing a springtime skilled nursing event (as in educational meeting), a West Coast complement to its annual fall shindig, which has been held exclusively east of the Mississippi.

Since that time, the spring event has flourished, bringing renewed, if not sole, focus to the skilled world. It kicks off again today, in fact, in San Diego. I’ve been looking forward to it.

As usual for an NIC event, the presenter line-up is stellar and you better arrive with plenty of note pads or recording bandwidth. And also par for the course, a prime headliner will be the main speaker: Former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

Never let it be said NIC doesn’t know how to grab a prominent national figure with famous friends and an agreeableness to accepting a sizable speaker’s fee. These figures usually deliver, too, so Ryan is a much-anticipated stop on the agenda.

But the real key is, the skilled nursing discussion continues, hot and at a high level. Crucial topics such as the Patient-Driven Payment Model, I-SNPs, financing and lots of other themes your less sophisticated former classmates would have nothing to do with will take center stage.

Given the newsy times we’re in, there’s no better time for it. Stay tuned to this channel and that of our sister publication, McKnight’s Senior Living, for concise, up-to-date coverage of the most important business meeting on the West Coast this week.

Follow Editor James M. Berklan @JimBerklan.