Editor’s note: As part of the 40th anniversary of McKnight’s, McKnight’s Senior Living and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News are recognizing 40 notable newsmakers. Each week, the brands will highlight a new, high-profile leader from the past four decades. Previously published installments of the series are posted here.
Few leaders in this field look or dress like Rick Matros. But almost all are extremely interested in what he has to say.
Partial to worn jeans, arms full of tattoos, spiked hair, tufts on his chin and pulsing modern music, Matros is anything but a central casting version of a traditional long-term care or real estate executive. But it would be difficult to find one more respected or followed at this point.
Originally a nursing home activities aide, Matros currently is the president, chairman and CEO of Sabra Health Care REIT and one of the most influential voices in the field today. Although his real estate investment trust is massive — including 291 skilled nursing / transitional care properties, 101 leased or managed senior housing properties and 25 specialty hospital / other properties — some of his most recent headlines deal with him insisting that size does not matter when it comes to wielding critical mass in long-term care ownership.
He also is a powerful force intrigued by new payment models and alternate uses for unneeded buildings, such as behavioral health and addiction treatment services. As a “side” gig, he founded Sabra Films LLC, where he has been the executive producer for at least a half dozen motion pictures.
His decade at the helm of Sabra was preceded by a similarly long run as the chairman and CEO of Sun Healthcare Group. He ran the huge, New Mexico-based long-term care chain and rehab company only with the agreement that he could do so from his favored Southern California base.
Before that, he founded and was CEO of Bright Now! Dental for three years, which came after stints as a top executive at Care Enterprises and then Regency Health Services. By the mid-2000s, he had seen enough to become a strong voice in the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care, a breakaway group of large provider chains seeking quicker and more focused lobbying than the American Health Care Association could muster at the time.
Matros often is asked to join boards and panel discussions and to lend an opinion.
His views, like his attire, may be unconventional. But wisdom never goes out of style.