Highlights from the Annual Late Winter Sims Conference in Orlando

Jun 21, 2018 | Guest Contributors

By Aaron Rulnick, Managing Principal and Kerry Moynihan, Director of Organizational Development – HJ Sims

Now in its fifteenth year, HJ Sims continues to host its highly popular Annual Late Winter Conference each February. The conference brings together renowned thought leaders and innovators from across the senior living industry. This year on February 28 through March 2, more than 300 professionals gathered at the Omni Orlando Resort at Championsgate in Florida, to exchange ideas, experiences, and concerns. Throughout the conference, attendees explored recurring themes, such as the adoption of technology to further resident care and experience, the rise of Accountable Care Organizations and other value-based shifts in the payment system, and the need for design that embraces new consumer demands.

Kerry Moynihan, Director of Organizational Development at HJ Sims

Kerry Moynihan, Director of Organizational Development at HJ Sims

Aaron Rulnick, Managing Principal at HJ Sims

Aaron Rulnick, Managing Principal at HJ Sims

“In an environment of rising interest rates, new tax laws, and rapidly evolving consumer demands, senior living executives are faced with more and more factors to consider as they position their organizations for the future,” said Bill Sims, CEO, HJ Sims. “Our conference fosters dialogue among these leaders, for-profit and not-for-profit alike, and creates a collegial environment of idea sharing that lends itself to further innovation across the Senior Living industry.”


Some program highlights from the 2018 Conference include:

  • Thought leaders from outside the Senior Living industry shared fascinating ideas from fields such as acute care, WELL design, and emotional branding. These speakers challenged attendees to ponder how emerging technologies and inventive ways of thinking can help to pioneer further innovation in senior living communities.


  • Seasoned storytellers held a series of informal events to share their unique perspectives and experiences as leaders, patients, and humans, reminding attendees of the emotional element that underlies our businesses.


  • Educational sessions covered an array of thought-provoking topics, such as: identifying worthwhile acquisitions, preparing for and surviving natural disasters, strategies for downtown development, and shifting trends in skilled nursing.


  • On the Effects of Tax Reform: Bill Sims, CEO and Managing Principal, HJ Sims, covered the high-level impact of 2017 tax reform, focusing on the ultimate effects of economic growth and lower taxes. He concluded, “Everything points to higher interest rates” but noted that with accelerating growth, deficits could shrink, leading to less government borrowing, a stronger dollar and, ultimately, lower interest rates. It just depends on how fast, how much, and how soon. Jeff Sands, Managing Principal, HJ Sims, shared key issues that operators are currently facing and how some are responding. These included: affordability for middle income seniors, shortage of labor and rising labor costs, competition with new development, shifts in design, adoption of managed care, increasing technology advances and demands, and rising interest rates.


  • With Regard to Downtown Development: “Baby Boomers,” children of the Silent Generation born between 1946 and 1964, came of age during the rise of consumerism, social activism and a broad range of cultural activities. Many are attracted to urban living and recognize living in a city or downtown location has many advantages over suburbs including better transportation options, a higher concentration of health care services and walkable neighborhoods that provide a sense of community and human interaction.


  • About Shifting Trends in Skilled Nursing: A recurring theme throughout the session was the increased shift to value-based payments and managed care. Stephen Monroe, Managing Editor and Partner at Irving Levin Associates, detailed how managed plans continue to increase in enrollment, a trend likely to continue in the future. This shift has reduced skilled nursing revenues as Managed Care Organizations (MCO) drive down costs by reducing length of stays. MCOs achieve this by passing SNFs for cheaper options and reducing reimbursement rates paid to providers that are, on average, well-below traditional fee for service Medicare reimbursement rates. Since skilled nursing providers must participate in these plans and have limited ability to negotiate rates, they need to reinvent themselves by offering new services to survive in a changing post-acute care world.


  • Looking at Natural Disasters: Across the nation, communities have weathered a variety of natural disasters this past year. Industry executives, representing different regions and different events, shared their planning and execution strategies for the respective natural disasters they encountered. Additionally, an insurance expert panelist provided an in-depth account of the recent changes in insuring communities and what has been learned from Hurricane Harvey.


About HJ Sims: HJ Sims is one of the nation’s oldest underwriters of tax-exempt bonds, with expertise in today’s fastest growing project sectors, including senior living, health care, education and energy.

About Aaron Rulnick: Aaron Rulnick serves as co-leader of HJ Sims’ banking team and serves on the firm’s Operating Committee and Board of Directors. In his 20-plus years of experience in the senior living field, Aaron has financed over $3 billion for the development, acquisition, expansion and refinancing of nursing homes, continuing care retirement communities, senior housing and assisted living facilities for both not-for-profit and for-profit clients. Prior to joining HJ Sims in 1997, Aaron worked for the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (now LeadingAge) where he focused on critical issues affecting senior living providers, including: public policy, operational and financial issues, capitalization, design, and marketing. Read more on his bio page.

About Kerry Moynihan: Kerry Moynihan joined the Investment Banking team at Sims in 2011. As Director of Organizational Development, her primary focus is spearheading the translation of strategic business objectives into action plans. This includes maximizing transaction efficiency and client coverage, identifying and implementing business development opportunities, overseeing the execution of strategic partnerships, analyzing key performance indicators, and improving organizational communication. With eight years of industry experience, Kerry has been involved in over 40 financings, including start-ups, major expansions and repositionings, and refinancings totaling nearly $2.0 billion. Read more on her bio page.


For more information on how Love & Company can help your retirement community reach full occupancy, call either Tim Bracken at 410-207-0013, or Rick Hunsicker at 214-906-3801 today. Or, reach out to us online.

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