Whether recruiting nurses from abroad or taking a new approach to intergenerational senior living, The Goodman Group is striving to innovate while expanding its portfolio of managed communities.
Based near the Twin Cities in Chaska, Minnesota, The Goodman Group today manages 63 properties across nine states. About half the portfolio consists of managed senior living and health care communities, with the other half being managed residential communities.
A therapy company, two home health agencies, a pharmacy business and a design and development firm are also affiliate companies of The Goodman Group.
“Back many years ago, we saw inconsistencies in pharmacy or therapy, in how patients were being treated,” CEO Craig Edinger told Senior Housing News. Though it was “unorthodox” at the time, The Goodman Group decided to bring many of these services in house, although it still maintains third-party partners for some services in some markets.
Edinger has been The Goodman Group’s CEO since 2016. He took the helm after John Goodman, chairman and son of founder Sidney Goodman, passed away. John Goodman believed that innovation is needed for The Goodman Group and senior living as a whole to flourish in the years ahead, and Edinger shares that perspective.
Alexa and intergenerational living
Current building projects are largely focused on The Goodman Group’s ability to provide the full spectrum of care in projects that it manages.
Offering the full continuum enables the managed communities to maintain long-term relationships with older adults and serve them for many years across various settings, Edinger said. Offering multiple levels of care also reduces jarring care transitions that can cause seniors’ health to deteriorate, and thus helps reduce resident hospitalizations and hospital readmissions. This should make these communities attractive partners to health systems and payers, which are increasingly eyeing senior living providers as partners in population health management.
A recent project, to be managed by The Goodman Group for a nonprofit owner,* is one example of how the company is creating a full care continuum, and it also involves a unique partnership to foster an intergenerational environment.
In April, a 139-unit independent living, assisted living and memory care community called The Lodge at The Lakes at Stillwater is slated to open on a campus in the Minneapolis suburb of Stillwater, Minnesota. Two additional phases are slated, involving 30 standalone lake homes for independent residents and 70 one- and two-bedroom apartments for the 55-plus demographic. The plan is for these buildings to only occupy about half of the 60-acre campus. On the remaining acreage, the state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will work with The Goodman Group to create educational programs and host school groups, creating opportunities for the senior living residents to interact with students.
Other intergenerational components are also planned for this development, called The Lakes at Stillwater. It is adjacent to an elementary school, and the campus’ infrastructure has been designed with this in mind.
For instance, there will be an outdoor amphitheater on the grounds where the neighboring schoolchildren can put on performances and programs, and there is a pathway to connect the senior living residences with the school. And The Goodman Group plans to bring its existing intergenerational programming, such as “adopt-a-grandparent,” to this new community.
Other projects are also focused on building up the continuum of care. Earlier this month, Gardens at Terracina Health & Rehabilitation — developed and managed by The Goodman Group — hosted an open house for a new 30-bed skilled nursing and transitional care building on the 8-acre campus in Naples, Florida. Each room in the building is equipped with Amazon Echo devices, featuring Alexa voice-activated technology.
“Everyone says, how do I become a disruptor in the market?” Edinger said. “My view is really simple: You’re going to disrupt it with really good quality care and outcomes that are daily … and the other piece is using technology that is going to make staff more efficient but is [also] going to treat the residents and patients.”
The Goodman Group’s innovation committee, which meets once a month, identified Alexa as this type of dual-purpose technology. Because residents can simply ask Alexa about everything from the weather to daily schedules, the technology holds the potential to save staff time while also improving residents’ quality of life. After the rollout in Naples, The Goodman Group plans to explore implementing Amazon devices in its other managed communities as well.
While creating full-continuum campuses within particular regions for its management portfolio is a priority, The Goodman Group will pursue development and acquisitions opportunistically in both suburban and urban markets going forward, Edinger said.
“There’s a certain standard … at The Goodman Group, so we want to go into markets where we can support [that model] and grow,” he said.
The Goodman Group standard is defined as “Platinum Service” — a high-end, hospitality-meets-health care approach built on 20 standards of service created in partnership with experts from an international hospitality company.
“We have a full-time person who goes to every building, and everyone gets training in our customer service program,” Edinger said. “You need to have that before you get on the floor, and be refreshed on that once a year.”
Platinum Service is baked into The Goodman Group’s “wellbeing model” of operations, which includes branded programs such as FIT Functional Fitness, focused on core strength and balance to reduce the potential for falls; Food for Life, a dining experience involving healthy and organic foods; and Pearls of Life, a memory care approach that draws from individuals’ life experiences.
Having a stable and talented workforce is essential to delivering a high level of service within these programs. With this in mind, The Goodman Group has devoted time and capital over the years to staffing initiatives.
For instance, the company has been recruiting nurses from the Philippines for several years.
A Goodman Group team travels to the Philippines annually to interview candidates and make hires. The company works with an attorney or paralegal who sees the new hires through the immigration process, which can be lengthy. The nurses go through a five- to six-week training on policies and procedures and commit to working for three years in buildings The Goodman Group manages. So far, about 300 nurses have come through the program, 60 in the last year.
All told, Edinger estimated that this process costs approximately $25,000 to $30,000 per nurse — but the investment is worthwhile, he said.
“[It’s] really helped with some relief in this tight labor market,” he said. “It fills the need for staffing, but it reduces costs and provides consistency of care … It helps with our star ratings.”
To bolster its ranks of certified nursing assistants (CNAs), the company has developed Platinum Career Solutions.
As new senior living competition exacerbated existing labor challenges, The Goodman Group began struggling to find and retain CNAs in three markets in particular, Edinger said. Platinum Career Solutions was created to address these challenges. The initiative involves recruiters doing boots-on-the-ground work, finding promising candidates to hire and put through CNA certification, at the conclusion of which they may have jobs at communities managed by The Goodman Group.
From a capital perspective, Edinger said there is ample availability, and he is not concerned about being able to execute on these programs while continuing to expand the portfolio.
Looking ahead at 2019, Edinger anticipates further expansion as opportunities arise on both the senior living and health care side and in residential communities — despite ongoing headwinds that are affecting The Goodman Group and the senior living sector overall, particularly elevated levels of new supply and tight labor markets.
By consistently delivering high-quality care and superior customer service, The Goodman Group’s managed communities have been able to maintain census even with these challenges, Edinger said.
“There are some things that we do really well, and I think the residents and patients we care for recognize that,” he said. “That’s how we’ve weathered the storm.”
*Editor’s Note: This story has been modified from an earlier version, to clarify that The Goodman Group is a development and management company, and will not own The Lakes at Stillwater. Language has also been changed to clarify that the DNR will not assume ownership of the 30 acres of land where it will be involved in programming.