Senior Living Business: Remaining Competitive In Today’s ‘New Normal’--

The Question: Will The ‘New Normal’ Become The New ‘Normal’?

 Dealing with the unsteady market of the last couple of years has not been easy for anyone, but many organizations have made strategic changes and taken austerity measures to help them remain competitive, increase revenue, and reduce costs. But the question ultimately becomes: Will the “new normal” become the new “normal”?

 For Garry Hennis, COO of Presby’s Inspired Life in Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania, the strategy has been to evaluate the current business model and find opportunities for additional efficiencies, expense reduction, or added revenue. “These days, it’s tough to find areas to optimize revenue,” he acknowledged, “so it really requires going back to core principles.”

 Those core principles include a focus on census from a marketing perspective—lead generation, lead followup so fewer are lost, cold calling the database, and increased data mining to find opportunities for census growth.

 “It also means being more assertive, even aggressive,” Hennis added. “For skilled nursing and assisted living, not-for-profits are often less assertive than they need to be. For those two levels of care in Pennsylvania, for example, for-profits generally have a hospital presence, whereas not all not-for-profits do. So it really means evaluating what the competition is doing, being nimble, and reacting quickly.”

 Many senior service providers have also tried to maintain some type of equilibrium during the current economic turmoil by expanding their scope of services so that they reach a broader group of people and also so the organization isn’t wholly reliant on one payer source, according to Tama Carey, Executive Vice President at Diakon Senior Living Services in Allentown, Pennsylvania. “When you’re in a position where all of your revenue comes from the federal or state government—or all from private pay resources—you’re beholden to whatever happens in that sector,” she explained. “A broader spectrum of services and revenue sources provides a lot more flexibility.”

 Delivering two hours of care in a person’s home may be less expensive than delivering two hours of care in an assisted living setting, but it’s also true that there will always be a group of people for whom 24-hour care is a necessity—and that kind of care is not necessarily delivered less expensively at home. So providers need to be flexible and diversify the services they offer to seniors needing care. That approach will broaden the potential revenue stream, help to reduce costs, and also give the senior care organization a more solid foundation...Want to read more? Click here for a free trial and download the current issue today