To Understand What Works, Drill Down

To Understand What Works, Drill Down


[This article by Jim Moore previously appeared in the industry publication McKnight’s Senior Living]

It is generally recognized that the senior living business is becoming more complex with increasing need for operational sophistication and innovative best practices. The senior living continuum of products and services is growing. There is a pressing need to optimize the financial viability of existing communities through revenue enhancement and expense reduction.

financialYet in spite of these generally recognized complexities and challenges, many sponsors and owner/operators still focus exclusively on tracking and evaluating their financial position on a broad consolidated basis. This is a great big-picture summary approach, but the true financial dynamics and sensitivity of the organization must address the development of individual cost and profit centers within the continuum. Simply combining three or four businesses within a community into one simple consolidated income statement of revenues and expenses is not the best practice for the future. In reality, each of these major product and service businesses should meet reasonable industry financial benchmarks of:

  1. Revenue
  2. Expenses
  3. Net operating income
  4. Profit margins
  5. Cash flow

Each cost center must initially stand alone before being merged into the consolidated financial statement. Just using consolidated financials can frequently mask unacceptable subpar performance of one cost center, while penalizing another one.

Clearly owner/operators must provide a seamless consolidated continuum of products and services for their aging residents. But this consolidated continuum is really composed of a number of individual business models with unique challenges and opportunities. Each key element of this continuum must first be segmented as standalone cost and profit centers and then (and only then) combined to track the results on a consolidated basis. Each business element must be successful individually.

Let’s take a look at a typical example. One of my clients operates a comprehensive CCRC that has independent living, assisted living/dementia/memory care, nursing/rehabilitation and assistance-in-living/wellness as major components in their seamless continuum for their residents. These components have each been segmented as these standalone profit centers. Individual income statements exist for each one. These individual income statements include earned operating revenues, operating expenses including direct costs and an appropriate overhead allocation that applies to that cost center, individual net operating income, profit margin and cash flow. These financial statements also include monthly and year-to-date budget versus actual results and, where appropriate, a discussion of why variances occur.

This approach also quantifies and enhances the objective assessment of key staff member performance. Coupled with resident satisfaction scores, this provides an objective criteria for addressing important initiatives.

The senior living continuum is becoming more complex, with services like comprehensive assistance-in-living within independent living, geriatric assessment, memory care and external continuing care at home. Financial performance sensitivity is also increasingly putting more pressure on profits, debt service coverage and capital investment needs impacting overall cash flow for aging physical plants.

The standalone cost and profit center is a concept whose time has arrived. It is already being implemented by progressive sponsors and owner/operators. The benefits include sharpened pricing, focused cost controls and potential overhead cost reduction. Finally, the concept is fast becoming a key element of a state-of-the-art business practice.

Need help drilling down your financials? Contact MDS at 817-731-4266


More Wage Pressure Could Be On The Horizon!

More Wage Pressure Could Be On The Horizon!


 Wage Pressure Senior Living Industry


In a proposed plan by the White House, more exempt employees will be eligible for overtime compensation.

Not long ago I wrote a piece on the impact of increasing wages through both higher minimum wages and entry level wages in Is Your Business Prepared for the $15-An-Hour Entry Level Worker? Now, you should not only consider the impact of rising wages for hourly workers, but also potential wage impacts related to exempt employees. The proposed plan by the White House would raise the threshold of wages in which exempt works are eligible for overtime compensation.

The Proposal

A recent White House Proposal will increase the number of exempt employees eligible for and entitled to compensation for overtime work beginning in 2016. The new regulation increases the minimum pay for overtime-eligible exempt employees from $455 a week to $970 a week, or $23,660 to $50,440 on a yearly basis.

Currently, hourly and salaried employees making under $455 a week or $23,660 a year are generally eligible for overtime compensation for hours worked in excess of 40 per week. If this proposal goes into effect, it will increase the eligibility for salaried employees making up to $50,440 a year to be eligible for overtime compensation. This will more than likely have an effect on most department managers and some administrative personnel currently employed at senior living communities who have previously been ineligible for overtime due to their exempt status.

Changes To Be Considered

If the proposal is approved, this will create a need to start doing a few things differently for the exempt employees making under $50,440 per year. The first thing would be to start tracking these newly eligible employees’ time closely, even if they work off-site or from home. If the employee consistently works overtime, the changes that can be considered will include: whether to institute a no more overtime policy, increase the employees pay to $50,500, or convert them to an hourly rate and adjust for overtime normally worked.

Policies for communicating with these employees during off hours by phone, text, or email will also need to be evaluated. It would also be prudent to consider the impact of employees who might cover for others due to no-calls, no-shows, or other absences. If the coverage situation happens at the end of the scheduled work week, then this employee would more than likely have already worked enough hours to be eligible to an overtime situation.

Definitive Action is Needed

It may be tempting for management and employees alike to take a laid-back view on this emerging situation. If you don’t get anything else from this article, the one piece of information you should remember is this: I can assure you that you will be better off planning ahead for the proposed rule change. Don’t be tempted to procrastinate, and don’t simply make a handshake agreement with an employee and think that nothing needs to be changed because everything will work out in the long run. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out, and the cost can add up.  The cost of the overtime work, penalties, time other employees will spend on this, and possible litigation will cost you more than it would have to initially just do be prepared from the start. Not to mention the hassle of having the Labor Department in your business for goodness knows how long.

Be Proactive

Let MDS help you evaluate the possible impact of wage increases in your community. I can work with you and your team to calculate your financial expose based on potential changes in over-time regulations for exempt employees. A proactive approach will allow us to develop alternative pay plans and work schedules to minimize the financial and service impact on your organization.

While we don’t know where minimum and entry level wages will eventually land, I will also help your team run “what-if” scenarios based on several factors to estimate the impact of multiple levels of increase. Putting this all together will help guide management’s approach to evaluating and setting monthly service fees, and service packages designed with minimal impact to the organization, its residents, and staff members.

Don’t procrastinate on these important wage-related issues. There is still plenty of time to design a well-rounded solution that has minimal impact to your organization.


As an update to the entry level worker pay story, the New York Wage Commission has endorsed the planned hike in fast food workers to $15 per hour.


Roy Barker is Director of Special Projects at Moore Diversified Services, a Fort-Worth, Texas-based organization specializing in operations analysis, marketing development, and investment advisory services. Roy is an authority in the field of employee turnover analysis and retention strategies.

Is “Cost Creep” affecting your income statement?

Is “Cost Creep” affecting your income statement?


Cost Creep, senior living consulting, senior living consultant

What is “Cost Creep”? How is it measured?  How does it affect your community, division, or company? What can you do to stay out in front of it?  These are some questions I hope to answer for you.

Cost creep, in its basic form, is providing more care to residents than you are being compensated for. This can come about for many reasons, such as:

  • an incorrect loaded hourly rate on which to base monthly service fees (MSF) and care tiers upon;
  • not having residents assigned to correct care tiers;
  • not catching resident’s decline soon enough; and
  • caregivers not understanding the dynamic of what they provide the resident and the company through their service.

10 Critical Steps to Increase Employee Retention


steps to improve employee retention, senior living consulting, senior living consultant, Moore Diversified SerivcesEmployee retention is an area most businesses can improve on. In the heat of the moment with deadlines, phones ringing, and customers that need servicing, this is one area where short cuts are often taken. With the average entry level worker costing approximately $7,500 to turnover and executives reaching 200% of their yearly salary and some technical workers up to 400% of their yearly salary, this shortcut can be a costly proposition.

Thought we’d start the year off with a list of critical steps to increase employee retention in 2015. This is not meant as the be-all-end-all list by any means, but it’s a great start.


1. Initial Screening – Take the time to review applications and resumes thoroughly. Develop a combination of basic and individualized questions to fill in the gaps. Be alert to attitude and personality in addition to the candidate’s skill set. There are great programs available that can help automate this process. I read a great line in a book about prospective employee attitudes, “Attitudes are catching, ask yourself if you would want someone to catch theirs.”

 2. Orientation – This is a tempting one to skip. You are shorthanded and really need the new hire on the floor….but don’t! Take the time to thoroughly orientate new hires even if they have worked in the same industry. It will be worth the time it takes.

Continue reading “10 Critical Steps to Increase Employee Retention”

Strategic Planning Series Webinar Recordings


I want to thank everyone who joined us for our Strategic Planning Webinar Series.  If you missed the opportunity to participate live, here is your chance to view these recordings.  These webinars contain important and helpful information to remember as you finalize your Strategic Planning journey for 2015.

We are busy putting together some new webinars that you will not want to miss.  These can help you take your organization to the next level.  I am currently planning for late January or early February.  Watch our blogs and newsletter for more information. To sign up just enter your email in the box on the left hand margin.  Also, please send me an email with any suggestions you might have for both blog and webinar topics. Let us know what your specific challenges are and I will try to accommodate as many requests as possible.

Below you will find links to MDS’ recent Webinar Series on Strategic Planning, both Parts I & II.  The images are linked to the MDS YouTube page, so just click on the image of the webinar that you want to view and it will open up the presentation video in a new window for you.

Part I Part II












Roy Barker is Director of Special Projects at Moore Diversified Services, a Fort-Worth, Texas-based organization specializing in operations analysis, marketing development, and investment advisory services. Roy is an authority in the field of employee turnover analysis and retention strategies.

Employee Training and Retention: The Debate between Expense and Investment – Part II


This is an excerpt from a research paper by Kim Jimenez.

Once an effective training and development program is established and utilized by the organization it can begin seeing increases and benefits in the following areas: productivity, motivation, quality, job satisfaction, commitment (employee retention), and reduced absenteeism.

In order to provide the training and development that reaps these many benefits, it costs money, time and other resources. Paid human resources are used to plan, organize and teach training sessions, mentors take time from their own duties to mentor newer employees, training materials must be printed and/or compiled in electronic format, and fees must be paid for seminars, classes or workshops. Organizations recognize there is a cost for training and development.

In today’s competitive business world, most organizations are looking at ways to reduce expenses in order to increase profits. Unfortunately, when training is only looked at as an expense, it can be the first category to go to the chopping block. It is suggested that businesses need to accurately analyze what these training programs are worth. While most organizations compile data and trends on advertising campaigns, sales department activities, and other activities that they can directly tie to increased revenue, it can be difficult to determine a Return on Investment (ROI) on employee training and development.

Training Makes Employees Feel Valued

Continue reading “Employee Training and Retention: The Debate between Expense and Investment – Part II”

Employee Training and Retention: The Debate between Expense and Investment – Part I


This is an excerpt from a research paper by Kim Jimenez.

Most employers have some form of training implemented for their new employees and some even have programs designed for ongoing employee development. If asked, many employers, if not all, will say that training and employee development is important. But when truly evaluated, many employers do not provide adequate training or employee development to realize the advantages of proper training.

The disconnect lies in the fact that training and employee development comes at a price -financial resources, human resources and time. Employers view training as a cost or expense rather than an investment. They are hesitant, and some even resistant, to spend too many resources on an employee that may take that training elsewhere.

But, in fact, research has shown that proper training and employee development will increase employee productivity, job satisfaction and instill a higher commitment to the job among other things. This commitment to the job by the employee actually reduces employee turnover.

Continue reading “Employee Training and Retention: The Debate between Expense and Investment – Part I”

Be an Appreciative Rock Star!


I love music. I can’t sing or play an instrument, but I do love music and music trivia. Recently I had the good fortune to see a great band, one that has been around for many years, at one of my most favorite venues in the entire world, the Casino Ballroom in Hampton rock_star_logo2Beach, NH. It was a terrific show and fun was had by all, (including the guy sleeping in our car when we came out! For those who follow me on Facebook, you understand, and for those who don’t, that is an entirely different story.)

But, as we were leaving the concert we walked by the band’s bus. I was very surprised and saddened to see what happened next. Although there were only about ten fans around, two of the band members ducked their heads down attempting to hide from us. The sad thing was that, although most of us were old enough that we were past the “star-struck” stage and autographs don’t mean that much to us, there was a young man there who had been waiting patiently to meet the band and possibly get an autograph. It was troubling that they couldn’t have taken 10 minutes to sign a few autographs and mingle with their fans. It would have done wonders for their image. They seem to have forgotten how and why they had become so successful … fans liking them and their music.

With a Little Help From My Friends

It made me think of the senior living industry and other businesses I patronize. People like to be known and recognized. I go to a couple little local restaurants and diners where I know the owners. They never fail to stop by and say “hey” and make you feel welcome and appreciated for your patronage. I have befriended a manager at a national chain and he never fails to stop by my table and talk for a few minutes and even comps my meals most of the time. If I see these people on the street, in a different environment, they still speak and we treat each other as friends.

Continue reading “Be an Appreciative Rock Star!”

Conduct a S.W.O.T. Analysis Before You Need a S.W.A.T. Team!


You have the ability to take your business wherever you can imagine. The first step in any journey is planning. The old mantra goes, plan your work and work your plan. Those are great keys to success. Develop a plan and then focus and stick to it. Not that it won’t need tweaking and adjusting along the way, but as long as you can stay focused and true to your mission and goals, you can accomplish anything in life and in business.

The first part of planning any journey is to decide where you’re at currently. I was raised back in the day of paper maps. Every summer my grandparents would take us on vacation and I would be the navigator. About a week before we left my grandfather would sit down with me and a map and we would not only map out our primary route but we would also have a secondary route as well. The very first step of this process every year would be pointing to the reference of Fort Worth, Texas on the map and he would say “this is where were starting from”.

Current Location                                                  swot-analysis-md

It’s the same way with business. You have to know where you’re at before you can develop a great plan leading to your desired goals. That is the beauty of the S.W.O.T. analysis or Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats analysis. It’s a great process to perform in order to start the planning process and create your roadmap or strategic plan for success. This analysis works well for evaluation of products, departments, strategies, or an entire company.

Continue reading “Conduct a S.W.O.T. Analysis Before You Need a S.W.A.T. Team!”

Where Do I Start?


As you start your strategic planning for 2015 you might ask yourself “where do I start?” You have a lot of areas that you would like to tweak and improve as you start into the new year. Two great starting points are a financial wellness checkup and a SWOT analysis (SWOT is an acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats).

Start hereThe financial wellness checkup will give you a great base to start thinking about areas where you could sharpen your focus to improve your operational and financial health. A SWOT analysis will give you an opportunity to look at your departments, community, or company’s current strengths and weaknesses in order to develop strategies to take advantage of new opportunities and to defend against threats. In this blog I cover the financial wellness checkup and I will discuss the SWOT analysis in a future blog.

Continue reading “Where Do I Start?”