Christian Living Communities Leads Nonprofit Innovation Charge with Minka, Medicare Advantage

Not-for-profit and for-profit senior living providers are sometimes seen as oil and water — but this is not the case for Christian Living Communities (CLC) President and CEO Terry Rogers.

Instead, Rogers sees a world where for-profits and not-for-profits can work together, with the latter leading the way in finding creative new ways to partner and scale, he said recently on the Senior Housing News podcast, Transform, sponsored by PointClickCare.

CLC is driving innovation through its participation in Medicare Advantage group The Perennial Consortium and in its efforts to create a development of small homes in partnership with Bill Thomas’ Minka.

Rogers’ worldview is reflected by the fact that the Englewood, Colorado-based senior living provider has a for-profit management arm called Cappella Living Solutions. Together, CLC and Cappella own and/or operate 24 communities across seven states. With Cappella, CLC’s current partners include both real estate investment trusts (REITs) and development groups that are just entering into the senior housing market.

On the podcast, Rogers spoke about how not-for-profits can survive and thrive in a world of for-profit giants and from where he thinks change will come in this “decade of disruption.” He also provided an update on the company’s ongoing plans with the Perennial Consortium to launch an operator-owned Medicare Advantage (MA) network in 2021, and CLC’s talks with senior care innovator Dr. Bill Thomas’ company, Minka, to open a small-home community for older adults in Colorado.

On competing with for-profits:

Rogers: As not-for-profits, we exist for the public good. I believe we almost have a mandate to help determine now what’s next in the field, and to continue to take measured risks to find ways to partner and find ways to scale. Most of our Cappella partners, for our management services, are for-profit companies. And I see a future where we can all work together.

There’s really no reason not-for-profits can’t be as innovative as for-profits. I think when it comes to scale, capital is obviously one factor that can influence that. And that’s why I think we’ll continue to see the aggregation of not-for-profit organizations. I know our organization is open to those affiliation opportunities with other not-for-profits, but also we’re not afraid to enter into some of the for-profit businesses as well, just to remain competitive and to stay in our game.

On managing and growing CLC’s Cappella portfolio:

We’re taking the first part of 2020 to really focus on the existing communities that we’ve added over the last couple years. We want to ensure that we have strong operating results, that programs are there and running well, and that our management teams are cohesive and running like a well-oiled machine.

We anticipate continuing growth. We’re still engaged in some business development activities for that company and have a couple of things in the pipeline already. So, we really think this is a great benefit to our overall parent not-for-profit.

Capella is obviously a for-profit company that’s owned by our not-for-profit parent company. So, those proceeds, the staffing and all the scalability that we learn through Capella, it does nothing but help our owned operations. I think what we’ll see in the future is growth in both portfolios, both what we manage and what we own, as well.

On where the industry might see disruption this decade:

I hope that disruption comes from providers who are seeking innovative ways to meet the future demand. I think modern history tells us that disruption may come from outside the field, probably from the tech world. You know, we ask ourselves, what is the Uber, the Airbnb, for our space? And I don’t know yet.

But I know that our organization, and I personally, we want to help figure that out. We want to be a part of it over the next few years.

I think at the end of the day, we’re going to see convergence of technology assistive devices like we’ve never seen before implemented in senior housing, and together those yield positive outcomes and population health. So, how do we get there and how do we get there effectively and efficiently? I think that’s what we all have to be working toward.

On how CLC is progressing in its plans to open a small-home community with Minka:

The more we envision what a Minka community could be, the more we get excited about it. We are seeing this as a brand new model that will provide more affordable housing for older adults.

We’ve started with a planning session. Actually, just this month, on the first week of the year, we had the CLC senior leaders here with the Minka senior leaders, and we are aligned and we’re ready to go. The first step is to find a site. We’ve gone through a couple of various sites and nothing has stuck yet, but I’m sure we’ll be able to find a spot where a Minka community will take shape and take life. I think Minka communities can be and will be one of the really viable solutions for middle-market housing.

On the progress of the Perennial Consortium, slated to launch next year:

The plans are coming along great. I don’t think I ever anticipated it was going to be easy, so everything is just as hard as I expected. But we are moving along and we’re on schedule. We’re starting in Colorado, obviously, where we will be participating, and then we’ll be in Ohio, as well. Those are the first two states for the Perennial Consortium.

Both of the HMO licenses have been submitted to the respective states. And we’re starting to create our provider networks in the counties that will be operating in Ohio and Colorado. And most exciting for me, we’ve hired our first staff member, Chris Joos, who is now the president of the Perennial Consortium. He is doing a great job and keeping us organized and on track with all the work that has to be done this year to be prepared for October enrollment.

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