How Masonicare’s Diversification Strategy Has Paid Off During Covid-19 – Senior Housing News

Masonicare has weathered Covid-19’s operational and revenue pressures in large part due to a diversification strategy the nonprofit senior housing and care provider implemented five years ago.

That strategy involved reducing its exposure to skilled nursing, acquiring a senior housing community, and expanding its residential and home- and community-based service segments, President and CEO Jon-Paul Venoit told Senior Housing News.

Masonicare now is looking to diversify further, venturing into managing senior housing communities, exploring partnerships with like-minded organizations, and expanding its service offerings to meet demand, including beyond its home state of Connecticut.

Based in Wallingford, Connecticut, Masonicare’s service lines include home care and hospice, behavioral health, homemaker and companionship services, senior housing, nursing and rehabilitation, adult day care, and outpatient therapy. The nonprofit’s senior housing portfolio consists of four wholly-owned communities, and one managed community in Massachusetts.

The move to diversify

The provider launched its diversification initiative in 2017 because the majority of its revenues came from federal and state billings: 67% of its revenue derived from skilled nursing, primary care or hospital services, Venoit told SHN.

That year, Masonicare sold a nursing home and acquired Masonicare at Chester Village in Chester, Connecticut, offering independent living and assisted living services. Additionally, the community was located 25 minutes from its main campus in Wallingford, and already had certain contractual guarantees to its nursing care segment, effectively establishing a continuum of care.

“Part of the reason why it was so attractive was there wasn’t a skilled component,” Venoit said.

In addition to Masonicare at Chester Village, the provider’s senior housing segment includes Masonicare at Ashlar Village in Wallingford and Masonicare at Mystic, offering independent living, assisted living, and memory care services; as well as The Apartments on Masonic Avenue, a 55-plus independent living community on its main campus in Wallingford.

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All of its communities have available land for expansion to meet future demand. Notably, the memory care segments at its Wallingford and Mystic communities are near fully occupied, a sign that more memory care might be a part of expansion plans.

The company also manages Southwick Village, an independent and assisted living community in Southwick, Massachusetts, and Venoit believes there are other opportunities to add communities to its portfolio via management contracts.

Masonicare has experienced strong growth in its home care services business over the past three years. The cohort is broken into two segments – licensed care such as home health and hospice services, and non-licensed care including homemaker companionship and live-in services. Both segments grew significantly during the pandemic as skilled nursing facilities lost census.

Masonicare is struggling to staff the segment as labor issues have been compounded by Covid-19, but demand remains strong, inside and outside Connecticut. The provider is moving forward with plans to expand the service line into Rhode Island, Venoit said.

Moving forward, Masonicare aims to reduce its skilled nursing exposure further, while potentially growing in the behavioral health arena.

The provider has a 29-bed behavioral health hospital on its Wallingford campus, and was recently approved to add an additional 14 beds.

Masonicare is not the only senior living provider to pursue further diversification in light of Covid-19.

Asbury Communities has worked over the past three to four years to diversify its business beyond standalone CCRCs, notably through an affiliation with Albright Care Services, which offers PACE/LIFE programs and pharmacy services in Pennsylvania, President and CEO Doug Leidig said during a recent interview with SHN.

Ohio Living is another provider expanding its service offerings. The nonprofit found success expanding its home- and community-based services offerings to older adults in need of care during the pandemic. Additionally, Ohio Living is a partner in Perennial Consortium, a Medicare Advantage network that is a foundational component of its 2021 “revenue reform and recovery” strategy.

While the pandemic reinforced the value of diversified services, the strategy made sense even before Covid-19, Venoit emphasized.

“Our strategy didn’t stop or shift, even during Covid-19. We continued with our process,” he said.

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Chuck Sudo

Always inquisitive and often curmudgeonly, Chuck can often be found on a bike unlocking Chicago’s secrets, telling stories, making cocktails, checking out live music, tearing through his podcast and Filmstruck queues and playing with his pitbull, Mira.