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It takes around 700 people to make Bob Kramer smile. That's the number of attendees who showed up to the inaugural National Skilled Nursing Investment Forum last month in San Diego. Since Kramer, president of the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industry (NIC), only budgeted for 250 people to show up to his new conference-hoping he might get 400 to 500-he found the final turnout to be “overwhelming.”
“We are absolutely thrilled and the response to the program content was also very positive,” Kramer said. “I think people were really appreciative that this was a needed event, that there is a lot of change going on in the skilled nursing sector, that basically both the resident is changing and therefore the way in which we deliver care, services, and the physical layout out the buildings needs to change, and all of that requires capital, which won't all come from reimbursement.”
The Investment Forum's breakout sessions educated seniors housing operators on how to become more attractive to lenders. Updating facilities, adapting to culture change and Minimum Data Set 3.0, dealing with Medicaid budget pressures, and understanding the realities of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) LEAN financing were but a few of the strategic discussions taking place among experts and attendees.
A particularly riveting panel, featuring investors representing the capital markets, ended the Investment Forum with a session on how lenders view the skilled nursing industry. Although the overall vibe of the discussion was positive, with most panelists agreeing that skilled nursing is still the lowest cost seniors housing option, concerns were raised over the industry's perceived risks as well as the continued lack of flowing capital.
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But capital, it was stressed, should not be the only impetus to help improve upon seniors housing.
“One of the themes was capital is critical, but a capital investment to modernize your facility by itself will not do,” Kramer said. “Ultimately this industry is about people and all about care. Investing in your people, your staff, and that issue of quality of care.”
Already looking ahead, Kramer reported that the Investment Forum's planning committee, chaired by Doug Korey, managing director of Contemporary Healthcare Capital, LLC, is working on the second event for 2011. It would most likely be paired with the NIC Regional Symposium as it was this year and take place in California.
Kramer also mentioned that 2012 might be the year the NIC Regional Symposium finally heads to the East Coast, possibly in Florida, but that decision has not been made and is dependent on several factors, including attendee feedback.
-Kevin Kolus, Associate Editor/ Online Editor
For more in-depth coverage of these NIC events, visit the blogs listed on page 6.
Long-Term Living 2010 April;59(4):10