There is enough negative news so I thought  I’d make our 2021 annual report an encouraging and uplifting read for clients and connections of Pride Living.

Some years ago, I did a presentation at a LASA conference with the theme  “revolution or evolution”, this led me down a path to Darwin and eventually to his conclusion that the greatest threat to species is from within rather than from the outside.

On another occasion I heard a presentation  which positioned risk within the framework in the graphic. This presenter concluded internal (future) risk as having the most severe impact on organizations.

Where are the risks and how severe are they?

While not wanting to dismiss the impact of COVID-19 on our lives and the future of the organizations we lead, I prefer to focus on the things we can control. All we can do is control our preparedness to live with COVID and other external threats including their immediate and long-term impacts.

In our third annual report I’d like to share  a number of anecdotes,  internal to us and client stories of successful approaches we’ve seen or been a part of in 2021. We trust you enjoy the read and it stimulates your thinking on how you can focus on the threats from within.

Kalyna Care recovers from COVID Outbreak

This is our most rewarding tale of 2021. Kalyna was hit with a severe COVID outbreak while being in the middle of a major capital works program. Added to this, they were a single site community-based organization. Put simply, they were highly vulnerable. We worked with the board and the executive with the following key outcomes:

  1. The Department approved special consideration (Ministerial Approval) for higher payments under the standard COVID support grant scheme, making payments progressively and with amazing response times. The Dept gets a lot of negative press, in this case they went above and beyond. Both Kalyna and Pride Living have acknowledged this.  
  2. We were able to obtain significant recovery grant funding that has enabled the provider to remain independent, again Ministerial Approval required.
  3. Kalyna was able to obtain significant additional financial support from their bankers, allowing them to complete the Capital works and repay RAD’s.
  4. We successfully obtained grant funding under the BIF program to implement programs to restore community confidence and occupancy thereby ensuring ongoing sustainability.

While there has been a lot of outside help to bring Kalyna back to a sustainable position, it fundamentally occurred because the board, led by their Chair, accepted responsibility for restoring the fortunes of Kalyna. At no stage did they seek to outsource the problem to Govt. The Chair said to me on numerous occasions, failure to remain independent was not an option for them and they would do whatever they had to survive. We congratulate the Kalyna community and stakeholders for facing and overcoming the threat from within.

More than 40% of Providers are rising to the challenge

You’d have to be hiding under rock not to have heard of the parlous financial state of the sector. I find it curious that there hasn’t been more focus on 40% who continue to be financially viable. There is significant evidence, including the erosion of the $10pd increase in the basic daily fee that Govt will not excessively fund aged care or any other major public service.

Taking control over this  situation means either learning from and emulating the practices of the high performers, shifting from the practices of those who are not in this group or finding a “new way”. This is what the winners in other fields have always done!

During 2021, I observed the following key practices and strategies of Providers who are in the 40% group

  1. When the going gets tough they increase their focus rather than expanding the scope of activities – specialize. This is another Darwinian truism.
  2. Work on the controllable elements – internal focus including innovating.
  3. Maximize revenue by maximizing the value to your customers.

Differentiate yourself from your peers.

This all fits very neatly into Consumer focused, or consumer directed care.

Figure 5: Relative importance of attribute levels in determining choice of aged care provider (Panel A: conditional logit estimates)
Figure 9: Willingness to pay per week for home care of high quality by age group
Figure 15: Willingness to pay per week for residential care of high quality by age group

There are important research findings from studies conducted for the Royal Commission. Figure 5 summarizes what residential consumers value. There is similar research on Home Care.

Other research for the Royal Commission dispels the myth that consumers won’t pay for quality.

Figure 6 shows that more than 75% of the payers and their adult children are willing to contribute up to $75 -$225 per week to receive high quality Home Care.

While in residential care over 75% of people are prepared to pay up to $400- $600 per week for high quality care.

We see nimble organizations shifting from maximizing Govt revenue (ACFI and package levels) and compliance to understanding their customer wants and needs and designing services, that customers value and are prepared to pay for.

The bonus from this, is the shift in service providers from a compliance orientation to a quality and outcomes focus which is far more engaging for all concerned and as a by-product results in higher compliance levels.

Our extensive work in assisting many providers develop Additional Services offerings confirms the findings of this research.

How the Pride is going

While there have been challenges overall, we’ve had a great year, we;

had all but one of the applications for Business Improvement Fund grants approved with over 90% of funds applied for
achieved fantastic outcomes, clinical and financial, for two providers ravaged by COVID outbreaks
paid a significant profit share to our team
continued our charitable support making significant donations to;
expanded our client base by over 30%
were endorsed by our clients as most of our work came from repeat business from our clients or referrals from satisfied clients and connections
contributed to the sector through 12 online webinars / briefing sessions with industry partners
welcomed two new cubs to the Pride.

In case you’re interested, this is a link to our recently created employee proposition statement, as with all things Pride Living it’s a collaborative effort from all of our team, if this appeals to you feel free to give us a call.

Looking to 2022

We are enthused because of our view of the future for the sector. With the Royal Commission behind us and further clarity on the likely regulatory framework we think now is the time to embrace the power of the consumer.

This year we look to work with providers who intend to focus on what they can control! We see a great opportunity for the first movers and early adopters to carve out sustainable business models and market positions based on a clearly articulated customer offer and strategic focus. We recently completed a Strategic Planning workshop for one such provider and a major piece of work on the opportunity to develop a differentiated residential care offer for another provider.

We see the following as essential ingredients for those looking to win in 2022:

  1. Embracing of a consumer co-payment model – escape from lack of funds to deliver value.
  2. Clearly articulating a customer offer based on evidence of what the consumer valuers – meeting consumer expectations.
  3. Clear positioning against other providers in your market – to achieve number 1 or 2 status.
  4. Managing your balance sheet – to ensure long term sustainability.
  5. Strong governance – to ensure the consistent delivery of quality care and services, leading to strong compliance risk management.

In 2022 we will continue to focus our advice, services and support to ensure our clients achieve their best! As always, we welcome new clients to the Pride!