Now that 2016 has been relegated to the history books, 2017 is likely to usher in an era of changes and uncertainty.
One of the biggest changes set to impact the senior care sector will manifest itself in the new presidential administration scheduled to take control of the White House. While the precise political ramifications that might arise from legislative changes and regulatory reform is yet to be seen, brokers and agents working with senior care facilities need to be ready to continue offering senior care insurance options while also providing risk mitigation and informative analysis in case any major upheavals or drastic alterations in the industry occur.
The potential for loosening regulations
Speaking with reporters on a post-election conference call in late November, Senior Vice President, Government Relationships at the American Healthcare Association/National Center for Assisted Living, Clifton J. Porter II, noted that he is optimistic the new administration will reduce mandates and scale back bureaucratic control over the industry, Long-Term Living reported.
"In many cases, our operators are focused on what we can get rid of because we've been so incredibly overburdened in recent years," said Porter. "We all thought it would likely be a divided government, so we had a game plan and strategy into more or less manage in that atmosphere. November 8 came as a shock to all of us."
While nothing concrete has been slated in terms of precise regulatory reform or a legislative agenda, previous statements and the general predisposition of key members of the new administration have made it clear that their goals will be to roll back regulations and reduce onerous red-tape.
This could provide a boon for senior care facilities struggling to comply with strict mandates that consume precious resources.
Keeping pace with an evolving sector
Speaking with Senior Housing News, Travis Palmquist, PointClickCare's vice president and general manager of senior living, explained that while the senior living industry isn't poised to change in 2017, new trends are likely to impact this sector.
"Senior living's always trying to carve out their space, and it's always going to be different from skilled nursing," Palmquist said. "I don't think they want to go down this road where they're just 10 years behind skilled nursing – they want to remain private pay, they want to remain high-service organizations. That's what they're there to provide."
This external push to implement change "creates a pressure around formalizing the industry," Palmquist continued, "and the need for tools to manage it."
"Senior care facilities will need differentiators to distinguish themselves from the competition."
One of the driving trends in the senior care sector will be providers trying to differentiate themselves from their competitors by offering services that extend beyond the now-commonplace bells and whistles. Facilities must gain knowledge about the particular ailments common in the specific community and use this information to their advantage. A high quality of care for activities of daily living, such as bathing, eating and toileting, doesn't help a facility stand out from a crowded playing field anymore, since this has become the baseline norm for many senior care homes and it's expected. But, for example, managers and staff who notice that their communities have a high rate of say, diabetes, and specifically tailor their programs to cater to this problem can give their facilities the competitive edge they need to be successful.
Who can help?
In the midst of all of these changes in the senior care sector sits the potential for increased exposure to risks. An important tool senior care facilities need to manage the shifting trends and mitigate the fallout from any risks in this industry is senior care insurance. As executives and managers at these facilities must remain flexible and adaptive to new trends and external forces, they are also tasked with ensuring a seamless lifestyle transition for their residents. Having robust senior care insurance in place frees up time and resources so that management can focus on keeping pace with the industry trends without having to worry about mitigating risks and the potential for pricey lawsuits.
Brokers and agents who partner with McGowan Program Managers for senior care insurance gain access With the "Power of the Pen," McGowan can craft unique senior care insurance packages specifically crafted to meet the needs of care facilities.