As NIC Founder & Strategic Advisor Robert Kramer wrote in this blog’s first post of 2019, Welcome to Senior Care Collaboration, there’s a powerful case for healthcare and seniors housing leaders to pay attention to the disruption now occurring in their industries, and consider working together to achieve common goals. Kramer launched the year (and this brand-new microsite and blog), with the statement:

“Players in various healthcare silos and payors, many of whom would have had no interest in sitting down with our sector previously, are beginning to take an active interest in settings that are home to several million frail seniors with multiple chronic conditions and functional needs each day. As we recently argued in the October Insider, it will be necessary in this new environment for the seniors housing and care sector to develop new partnerships, as it collaborates with healthcare organizations, both upstream and downstream, to meet the needs of our residents in a value-based world.”

Since then, there has been a significant surge in new partnerships, M&A activity, collaborations, and other business initiatives that draw seniors housing and healthcare closer together, often featuring innovative models and new thinking on how to improve outcomes while achieving robust business performance. This trend has been reflected in a long list of headlines focusing on new deals being inked, from major investments by the likes of Amazon, CVS, Walmart, Microsoft, Humana, and other giants, to smaller collaborations and partnerships between seniors housing and healthcare players across the country.

Our recent recap of that news, all of which is carefully, and regularly, curated and presented on the resources page of this website, was selected for Ziegler’s “Senior Living Finance Z-News’ Recommended Reading List” for Q4, 2019.  It’s already one of our most-read blog posts for the year, which likely reflects a growing interest among industry decision-makers in staying informed on the latest deals and innovations in healthcare collaboration.

Kramer’s welcome post also announced what readers could expect: “The ‘Housing and Healthcare’ blog will feature interviews, original articles and analysis, along with commentary on news items and trends. It is a platform both for NIC to distribute analysis and for contributors to voice their perspectives.” Indeed, the blog has featured exclusive interviews with some of the industry’s most influential leaders and produced widely read articles featuring their unique insights. Our two top posts for the year feature such insights from two of the industry’s most respected CEO’s.

The most-read “Housing and Healthcare” blog post for 2019 is “Investor Bets on Medicare Advantage,” which focuses on the investment strategy of former Brookdale Senior Living head John Rijos, and his newly-formed healthcare investment firm, Chicago Pacific Founders (CPF). The post, which blends insights from Rijos with an overview of Medicare Advantage trends, draws attention to what may be an important opportunity for others in the industry, presented with context and some perspective on the underlying drivers of the strategy. We believe its popularity is due in part to interest in a recognized leader, and partly by an interest in understanding how to approach major changes in our healthcare system, which are already beginning to impact the seniors housing and care sector.

Close behind our top post, by only a hundred or so views, is “Marquis Embraces Mission of Collaboration,” another piece that features the insight of a well-known leader in seniors housing and care. CEO Phil Fogg, Jr. discusses Marquis Companies’ I-SNP strategy as an important part of his vision for the business – and for his residents. His exclusive interview with NIC provides blog readers a connection with a leader who is innovating in the space and is willing to outline how he views the market today. The post ends with Fogg directly addressing blog readers: “His advice: Providers should decide whether they want to own or outsource ancillary services. Those providers without the management bandwidth, financial resources, and enough residents or patients to enjoy the benefits of scale should find partners and collaborate with them. Fogg said: “The worst thing someone can do is nothing.”

Specific pain points and solutions, garnered from real partnerships, are featured in our third most-read post of the year. “Collaboration vs. Competition: How to work with a home health agency” features an exclusive interview with Sarah Walmsley, national director of strategic partnerships at Bayada Home Health Care. NIC’s interview focuses on how seniors housing leaders can create better resident experiences and extend length of stay by collaborating well with outside agencies, rather than refusing to work with “competitors.” Walmsley offers practical insight and advice on managing those partnerships.

Some of our posts are intended to shine a light on developing trends, innovations, and investments in the future that may have a real impact on seniors housing in coming years. “America’s New Hub for Innovation is Focused on Senior Care,” is the result of Bob Kramer’s attendance at a major ribbon-cutting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The post features Direct Supply’s Innovation & Technology Center, a multi-million-dollar investment focused entirely on improving seniors housing and care. After reporting on the center’s mission and focus, this top post ends with Kramer’s quote, “We are truly fortunate to have an innovation center like this, totally devoted to issues around senior care and senior living.”

Our final top post rounds out the group with another opinion from Kramer. In “Good Care Transitions Are Not Enough,” Kramer appeals to seniors housing and healthcare leaders alike on the subject of improving collaboration in order to improve outcomes. He points out a real problem: in a siloed system, “Each time you hand off to a new setting, the senior healthcare professional in that setting becomes like a dog marking its territory. They routinely overrule the other silo.” Kramer’s post provides a thoughtful, constructive perspective on the issue, and links to a recently published white paper for further reading. We believe that kind of insight on a real problem affecting millions – as well as the post’s directness and potential for controversy – is likely responsible for its popularity.

Look for this blog to continue to deliver exclusive interviews, insights, news, and commentary on the quickly developing phenomenon of housing and healthcare collaboration. As our most-read posts of 2019 clearly indicate, there’s real interest in developing collaborations to improve outcomes and build robust business performance. And you need only subscribe to stay informed of the very latest developments in 2020.