2024 NIC Spring Conference Turns Insights into Action

Attendees gathered in Dallas for three days of content, connections, and actionable insights.

March 14, 2024

NIC Spring Conference  • Blog

Attendees gathered in Dallas for three days of content, connections, and actionable insights.

Against the backdrop of an ever-evolving senior housing and care landscape, the 2024 NIC Spring Conference brought together industry leaders, experts, and stakeholders to exchange ideas, network, learn, and chart a forward-looking course for the sector.   

The conference theme — “Insights into Action” — reflected the event’s goal to give leaders the actionable insights to embrace and capitalize on the future of senior housing and care. Thoughtful and engaging programming highlighted the emerging trends shaping the industry, while addressing current challenges and opportunities.   

Drawing more than 1,800 participants, the conference was held March 5-7 at the Omni Dallas Hotel in Dallas, TX.  

Bob Kramer, NIC co-founder and strategic advisor, kicked off the three-day event. He noted that the focus of the conference was care and housing for older adults but within a broad framework. This comprehensive vision goes well beyond the traditional offerings of providers to include the management of chronic diseases and taking increasing responsibility for resident health and longevity. “This opens the need and opportunity for partners as we address the complete needs of our residents,” said Kramer.   

Here are key highlights from the 2024 NIC Spring Conference. 

Important New Research Shows the Value of Senior Housing. Older adults who live in senior housing communities live longer, receive more home health services, and benefit from greater rehabilitative and preventative care in the two years following move-in than those who do not, according to new research presented at the conference and conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago. “It’s all about outcomes,“ said Dianne Munevar, vice president, Health Care Strategy at NORC. 

Dynamic Main Stage Discussions. Eight main stage sessions brought together top experts on the dynamic trends driving the sector. Three sessions focused exclusively on the skilled nursing segment. Here’s a quick recap of other popular sessions. 

  • Medicare Priorities and Programs. Answering the question of how senior housing and care providers can better work with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Dr. Meena Seshamani, Deputy Administrator and Director at CMS, took the stage with Dr. David Grabowski, Professor of Health Care Policy, Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School. Seshamani said the agency’s expanded definition of care and other initiatives will impact senior housing and care. “It is extremely important to us to encourage data, transparency, and innovation,” she said. 
  • Big Retail Healthcare Strategies. The lines between healthcare and retail are blurring. Companies like Kroger and Amazon are diving into the healthcare space at a time when senior living is trying to figure out where it fits in. Leaders from major retailers and healthcare companies including Kroger and One Medical, discussed the opportunities to partner with the senior housing and care industry in new care delivery models. “Amazon and Kroger have invested in data and have evolved. As a senior housing and care industry, we have to change too,” said panelist Chip Gabriel, partner, Senior Living TransFormation Company. “Amazon is customer obsessed, so One Medical is patient experience obsessed” said Lindsay Botsford of One Medical. “We want to make it dramatically easier for customers to find, choose, afford, and engage with the products and professionals that can improve health.” 
  • Capital Markets. Commercial real estate faces a difficult financing environment, even as the economy continues to expand. Rising interest rates have slowed senior housing transactions. One of the country’s leading economists, Doug Duncan, chief economist at Fannie Mae, put the discussion in context. He was joined by a panel of senior housing finance executives. Duncan noted that the service side of the economy has continued to show strength despite other soft spots. He expects three interest rates cuts by the Federal Reserve in the second half of 2024. Recognizing an opportunity, the REIT Welltower will continue to put capital into senior housing, according to John Olympitis, senior vice president and head of corporate development at the company. Panelist Jamie Cobb, chief financial officer at Columbia Pacific Advisors, said it’s a good time to deploy capital in the sector, but hard to do since banks are hesitant to finance new development.

Conference attendees can view conference presentations in the conference app

Collaborative Innovation Labs. The conference featured five Innovation Lab sessions. The interactive format was brought back from its well-received launch at the 2023 NIC Spring Conference. Attendees collaborated with peers in a small group workshop format. Timely topics included middle market strategies, operating models for baby boomers, and AgeTech, among others

Networking Opportunities. Attendees also enjoyed a variety of opportunities to connect with colleagues. Comfortable networking areas including two designated networking lounges were provided to meet with industry peers. Evening receptions were held outdoors for participants to enjoy the spring weather. First-time attendees participated in a special gathering with fellow inaugural conference participants. 

A special Women’s Networking Meetup was held the first morning of the conference to allow attendees to meet and network before the full start of the conference. Colleen Blumenthal, COO at HealthTrust, shared personal stories with advice on how to achieve professional and personal goals. She offered the group some advice: Decide and define what you want to be. Find your people. Let go, occasionally. And set new goals.  

Looking Ahead. Attendees at the 2024 NIC Spring Conference gained a deeper understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing the industry that will serve as catalysts for change. As NIC’s Kramer concluded, “We are turning insights into action.” 

Mark your calendar! Join us at the 2024 NIC Data & Analytics Conference, May 21-22, 2024, in Minneapolis. Registration is now open.