Ep. 111: Trends and Ideas in Senior Living Sustainability

Feb 12, 2024 |

Mary Muñoz, Senior Managing Director at Zeigler, guides listeners in boosting the viability of our senior living industry and senior living providers.

In this episode, we have invited Mary Muñoz, Senior Managing Director at Ziegler. She specializes in financing senior living mergers and acquisitions and in strategic and capital planning consulting services. She has extensive experience with start-up CCRC projects, campus expansions and redevelopments, and refinancing. Today, Mary guides listeners in boosting the viability of our senior living industry and Senior Living providers.

Opportunities and Innovative Approaches in Senior Living
Mary pointed out that higher interest rates are a double-edged sword – while they can make projects more expensive, they also provide opportunities for earning money on investments and bond proceeds during project construction. Mary believes that the expansion of wellness programs is another positive trend, with genetic research offering insights into early disease management.

[10:31] Mary highlighted the emergence of innovative approaches, such as contracts that cater to individuals who wish to stay in their homes but have the option to transition to campus living later. She anticipated that the tech-savvy baby boomer generation would drive further advancements in accessing home and community-based services through technology.

Senior Living Organization Growth
Mary highlighted key characteristics of sustainable senior living organizations and stressed the significance of nimble leadership, advocating for board term limits to foster fresh perspectives and quick responsiveness to industry changes. Achieving alignment among residents, board members, and management was underscored as essential for effective operation.

[17:55] Mary's perspective centered on the vital need for senior living providers to not only achieve profitability but also allocate resources for long-term sustainability. She addressed the misconception that not-for-profits can operate without building excess margins, stressing the importance of generating revenue and controlling expenses.

Recognizing Senior Living Red Flags
Mary points out several red flags for Board members to monitor including occupancy that hasn’t recovered post-COVID, prolonged operating losses, declining financial resources, inadequate staff compensation, failure to meet wage standards, challenges with vendor payments and an inability to make facility upgrades.

[26:23] Her advice is focused on executives taking early and proactive steps such as the necessity of thorough analysis to identify underlying issues, suggesting collaboration with outside experts, third-party management, affiliations, or local partnerships to bolster resources and expertise. Mary recommended that executives consider new revenue streams and services that align with the organization's strengths.

Board's Role in Ensuring Senior Living Sustainability
Mary recommends that board members seek concise dashboards from CFOs, focusing on key measures like operating margin, debt coverage, and liquidity. It is encouraged that the Board engage with Marketing to understand why potential residents choose other options. She also urged discussions with management about their concerns and strategies for attracting and retaining employees.

Hidden Revenue and Expense Management Opportunities
Mary emphasized optimizing apartment turnovers and waitlist management for increased efficiency and income.

[34:35] Mary also underlined the significance of preventing scope creep and ensuring transparent charging for extra services. On the employee side, she suggested keeping salary rates competitive within the local market. Mary also shared some innovative approaches to revenue such as leasing out kitchens overnight and offering food delivery services to generate additional revenue streams while enhancing community visibility and referrals.

[41:48] For expense management, Mary recommended utilizing RFPs for vendor selection, exploring outsourcing possibilities, adjusting pricing based on market trends, and considering the use of robots for efficiency and engagement. Mary mentions positive resident reactions to robot servers and anticipates further innovative solutions.

Go to https://www.ziegler.com/mary-mu%C3%B1oz/ to learn more about Mary Munoz and www.ziegler.com to learn about Ziegler.
You can also follow Mary on LinkedIn  

About the Guest:

Mary Muñoz joined the senior living team at Ziegler in 1999. She manages the western region of Ziegler’s senior living practice.

Mary works with a broad variety of senior living communities and multi-facility systems in strategic planning for growth, as well as creative financing strategies. She has extensive experience with start-up CCRC projects, campus expansions and redevelopments, and refinancing. She also specializes in financing senior living mergers and acquisitions, and in strategic and capital planning consulting services. Mary’s senior living bond transactions since joining Ziegler total over $8.5 billion plus in par amount.

Prior to joining Ziegler, Mary spent 12 years in a variety of healthcare lending and corporate finance roles. Immediately prior to joining Ziegler, she was a managing director in KPMG’s Health Ventures practice. She worked with clients on strategic capital planning, private equity financing, and business plan development. While at KPMG, she structured and executed over $500 million of senior and subordinated debt offerings for healthcare clients. Prior to joining KPMG, Mary managed the national healthcare finance groups at Wells Fargo Bank and The Bank of Nova Scotia, raising over $5 billion to fund healthcare provider mergers and acquisitions and leveraged recapitalizations.

Mary is a frequent speaker at state and national conferences on a wide variety of senior living topics, and has published numerous articles on senior living finance and credit topics. She received a B.A. and a M.B.A. from Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. Mary also holds Series 7, 66, 53 and 24 licenses.

About the Show:

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