ALICE KATZ: I think the challenges are twofold. One is recruiting, retaining, training, and creating career paths for excellent staff at all levels in the industry, from executives in corporations to caregivers in the communities. And I think the second one is transparency and understanding on both the resident and the family's part, as well as the provider part. And I think that some of that is creating a nomenclature, getting codified information and similar packaging, in terms of the terms and how services are provided, so that people can understand what the residents' needs are, and the consumer half of the equation can understand what providers are able to offer and how they can enhance the quality of life for the people who live in the communities.
Creating professional standards for certain positions is important. I think some of the regulatory changes that are coming are starting to transform the industry. Some of it is good. Some of it will create standards that will raise the bar for substandard providers. And the good providers have already figured out how to do it.
And there's tremendous change going on, in terms of the health care environment and the payment structure. And I think that creates a lot of opportunity.
I think the strengths of the industry include that it's a relatively young industry so that it has a chance for great innovation. There are certainly incremental uses and development, in terms of technology, that helps support resident independence and the aging population, independence in the community. The change to money following the person who needs the services rather than going directly, for instance, to a skilled nursing facility is going to create more opportunities for community-based care on a broader continuum. And just the whole technological evolution is giving people more options and support in a variety of environments to really improve the quality of how people live.
My vision is a full continuum of services, including people being able to live in the community with excellent support services, co-operative services to maintain people with a high quality of life, and also many, many options, because people have different preferences, all the way through excellent hospice care for when people need that, and a balance in terms of social responsibility, as well as the part of the government contract to provide social services.
Health care and senior living are very dynamic services and an industry. And it's continuously changing. Many, many providers, particularly those who have more government payment than private payment, continuously complain about the challenges of change in reimbursement or change in regulation.
But for those of us who have been participating in the industry for any length of time, it has always been this way, and it's always changing. And the good news about that is that as consumers get more sophisticated or better articulate what they want, I think that the industry has an obligation and always rises to the challenge to provide that.
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Alice Katz, MBA ’76, president of The Vinca Group L.L.C., discusses the future of the healthcare and senior living industries. She also addresses current challenges such as transparency and retaining staff along with her vision for improved care.