J.D. Power to Take Yelp-Style Approach With New Senior Living Certification Program

J.D. Power, best known for its consumer car ratings and research, has been making even more senior housing plans since it published its first-ever “Senior Living Satisfaction Study” in February.

Soon, the global marketing information services company plans to roll out a senior living community certification program, as well as several regional senior living satisfaction studies, Greg Truex, senior director of U.S. service industries at J.D. Power, told Senior Housing News.

Truex attended this week’s 2018 Argentum Senior Living Executive Conference in San Diego on behalf of J.D. Power in an effort to learn more about the senior housing industry. Still, the company isn’t exactly a stranger to the space.


“J.D. Power has been involved with some of the senior living providers for about a decade, doing a lot of proprietary research for them,” Truex explained. “We had some exclusivity clauses built in there… but as of about three years ago or so, we started to negotiate those out of the agreements. There’s a lot of competition in senior living and that’s where J.D. Power really plays well. We want to give the consumer, as well as the industry, a different… third-party look at where we should be going for service.”

The push into senior living comes as the industry is experiencing nearly double digit compounded annual growth rates year over year, Truex noted.

“It was really an industry that J.D. Power couldn’t ignore anymore,” he said.


Community certification process

Soon, J.D. Power will offer a way for individual senior housing communities to be recognized as quality care providers.

“As of July 9, we are going to be rolling out a senior living community certification program where individual senior living communities can certify with J.D. Power,” Truex said.

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“Once a community is certified, it can get a little Yelp![-like] sticker on [its] door” so potential residents and their family members know that it has met J.D. Power’s quality standards, he added.

Communities looking to be certified will endure a two-phase process. First, J.D. Power will have a community’s residents take the same survey it previously used to determine the top seven senior housing providers with the most satisfied residents. If enough residents report sufficient satisfaction, the community can move on to the next phase. If not, the community can redo the first phase in six months.

The second phase, Truex explained, is an on-site audit.

“We’ve defined about 50 different best practices that should be present in a community,” he said. J.D. Power plans to send an auditor to a community for six hours, and if that auditor determines the community is completing at least 80% of the best practices, the community becomes certified by J.D. Power for 12 months.

More satisfaction studies in store

As it stands, smaller, more regional senior housing providers are not likely to be considered for J.D. Power’s national Senior Living Satisfaction Study.

That’s because J.D. Power sets a specific market share threshold that providers must meet in order to be considered. Right now, that threshold is 5%.

“We limited it to the largest seven brands, because it’s just that much more expensive it’s that much harder for me to find responses at that level,” Truex said.

Folks at J.D. Power recognize that this process eliminates a number of providers that don’t have the scale of a Brookdale Senior Living (NYSE: BKD) or a Holiday Retirement. For this reason, the company is hoping to eventually conduct four or five smaller, more regional senior living studies, Truex said.

Truex also envisions J.D. Power breaking the studies down into independent living, assisted living, memory care and in-home care—though that might not happen until 2021 or 2022, he said.

“We’re essentially [at Argentum] to learn how to do that,” he said.

Written by Mary Kate Nelson

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