Senior Housing | National Placement and Referral Alliance
Finding senior housing for a loved one can be tricky. If you are looking for senior housing in Phoenix this conversation is for you. Phoenix senior placement advisor Scott Fischer and Senior Real Estate Specialist SRES© John Cunningham at eXp Realty discuss the formation of the NPRA.
Scott is also the founder of Options for Senior Living, a placement company dedicated to excellence in the senior home placement industry in the Phoenix metro. Scott worked for many years in the medical industry in nursing administration. He is the co-founder of Professional Association of Senior Referral Specialists (PASRS).
John Cunningham is a member of the PASRS organization. He is dedicated to helping people when it is time to sell a family home so that those proceeds can be used to help their aging loved ones pay for their changing needs.
Senior Housing Standards | How they Impact Families
No one wants to put their mother or father into the hands of an amateur when it's time to move. That goes double for the people who will be assisting them with selling their current property and finding their new place.
Often times this need to take action arises so fast in the onset of an unexpected medical event that the family finds themselves scrambling. That is a terribly scary moment.
This is why Scott has formed these important organizations. People deserve high-level care. Seniors deserve excellence. These two organizations are helping to raise the bar for professionals working in the senior housing industry. In turn, the families being served by these dedicated pros are getting better care.
Listen to the National Placement and Referral Alliance Conversation
JOHN: I'm Phoenix senior real estate specialist John Cunningham with EXP Realty. He’s Scott Fischer; founder and president of Options for Senior Living, co-founder of ''PASRS''; an organization dedicated to raising the bar for residential senior living. As a local real estate agent who serves the senior community, it is easy to notice how important it is professionals in our industry do a better job to serve the aging and that’s why I admire Scott so much, he's taken the bull by the horns. If you'd notice in my interview with Scott, he's a bit of an architect, that is to say, when Scott sees a problem, he's very good at coordinating and organizing many people to come together and doing great things. It’s no surprise that he 00:57, so Scott is called information and National Placement and Referral Alliance or the NPRA.
The NPRA is a new nationwide organization whose primary goal is to unify best practices and create standard credentials for those who work in the placement industries and Scott is currently serving on the board as the treasurer. Good morning Scott and thanks for joining me today!
SCOTT: Hi John! Good morning, it’s good to be back with you.
JOHN: Awesome! Before we get going, I just want to lay the groundwork for today's discussion and today what we're going to do is talk with Scott about why he's sworn in the national alliance. And before Scott dives, I think we'll skim the treetops if you will and just give a quick overview of what I'm going to be asking Scott.
• We're going to go over the primary objectives of the national alliance.
• We're going to find out one catalytic issue that makes the timing of this so important.
• We're going to talk about some of the best practices and concepts that are consistent from state to state.
• And we're going to find out if there are any plans for licensing or regulating this group of professionals if there's going to be any such of a national certification or credentials.
JOHN: So Scott, going back to our first question, what are the objectives of the national alliance?
SCOTT: Well John, similarly is when we launched PASRS eight years ago, it was in response to our community here in Phoenix and Metropolitan Phoenix. There were such a wide variety of business practices and there was no definition of an industry in our community and so PASRS attempted to create definition and create kind of a boundary (what's in and what's out in terms of conduct and behavior for the professionals that participated). And we did that by bringing together a lot of different companies and a lot of different industries that work together, that touched our world, so that it wasn’t just those of us that were playing in the backyard and decided what our fences were going to look like, but we got input from our community and we thought that was really important.
And so, nationally, the same thing exists and there are different state laws in different states, in different regions of the country. And so, really the motive was to create an overall definition boundary for our industry; we are a non-regulated industry of professionals and prior to any licensing whatever life for yourself as a realtor, there were people that were just running and gunning doing whatever, there was no disclosure, there was no contract and commissions weren't talked about, so it was all sort of a run and gun kind of a thing and similarly we're in that place.
JOHN: Of course it is astounding to me Scott, that in 2017, the placement industry really hasn't changed if you will, I’m astounded by that.
SCOTT: I'll tell you, 15 years ago I wouldn't even consider this an industry; we were just a bunch of rogues at that time honestly. Seriously, I had a physician that was referred to me and he just called me ''the bounty Hunter'' and I was just kind of offended by that, because I was like; wait a minute I come from a clinical nursing professional background, I approached my business using those values, but not everybody did. When you evaluate a business, there are businesses that are great opportunities, moneymaker so to speak or business opportunities, because there’s no qualifications or training, no barriers to entry, no money to get involved. So people that are investing are looking for business or a job or moneymaking opportunity would look at this and go oh my gosh - this is such a great opportunity and of course because of the demographics of our nation, we're an aging society. So people have flocked to our senior living industries and particular this placement thing and of course, there is no regulation, no guidelines and so, therefore, PASRS was so important in Phoenix.
And so while I said there was no industry, I'll challenge you down and say hey; there’s a real industry here now. People respect what we do, not everybody wants to work with a paid referral source like us, that’s fine. But for the most part, the people that do what we do don’t walk around their head hung low like we're shamed up because people think... The Bounty Hunter, we're really professionals that offer great value and great service to the clients and families and the communities that we work with. So it’s all about this unregulated industry that really has invited us to do something nationally with this organization.
JOHN: Now Scott, with the formation of the NPRA, there's got to be one catalytic issue that's really pushing this thing and you've kind of touched on some already, but how does that make the timing of this so important?
SCOTT: Back when we started PASRS, there's a gentleman with the name Chuck Bongiovanni and Chuck and I have known each other close to 30 years. And Chuck owns the largest franchise system for referral replacement companies in the nation called ''Care Patrol''. And Chuck was foundational and he was in these early board meetings and served on our board at PASRS, but he always kept an eye on the national, because his business extended outside of here. He saw that families across the country were getting...There was a collision of interest that were happening on the internet. You know years ago there wasn’t if you wanted to go to a hotel and you want to Google John hotel or Marriott hotel, you could get the Marriott hotel. If you Google it now, what do you get? You get 25 management companies that all represent Marriott, but you may or may not ever get to Marriott website. You get all these other online companies that make reservations for people. Similarly, I think the realtors have had issues with the Zillow and the things of the world where it’s been difficult to reach the private guy like you. And people sometimes are just researching online to find information; they don’t necessarily want to get tangled up in a referral company.
Well, there's a lot of online referral lead generating companies out there that once people are doing their research, they may or may not know that they are entangled with one of these lead generators and what happens is, personal information gets forwarded on to providers assisted-living facilities and home, may or may not be with the knowledge of the families that are doing the searching. Sometimes they know, but many times they don’t and we have a lot of documentation that would support that.
JOHN: So they go in feeling like they’re working with a professional directly, when in fact they're filling out some sort of a form that shotguns all their contact information out to people who would like to do business with them.
SCOTT: That will like to do business and get that ''lead''. Well, we don’t think families are necessarily leads, we think they're families that have a loved one that potentially could use senior living services or care and that kind of stuff. So the binding part of this, and this is where I think the answer to your question in a long way is the issue that binds together is; these online lead generating companies have binding contracts with the providers. And the providers are now bound because the lead enters their referral system at that moment they make that connection to that lead company online. Then, their personal information is tied up with that provider for two years through that lead generating company. And actually it goes on like this that as long as the online company makes contact with the family and the provider once every two years, then it continues on as a two-year thing, so essentially leads can be owned for a different item.
JOHN: This issue can probably be a whole separate discussion, but I’m hoping that you’ve been tossed around something that will be some sort of a fix for that problem because that’s a huge problem.
SCOTT: It is a huge problem and so nationally as we're organizing, Chuck been a catalyst to bring us together over this issue and it’s not the only focus of NPRA, but it is the catalytic issue that brought us together, so that we can begin to stressing with other industries; the hotel industry, the realtor industry. You've guys have encountered some of these very same issues, how do we navigate this, how do we educate families that have a choice, how do these contracts of binding people up, how does that not violate the opportunity for families to choose later who they would like to work or have represented them. So that’s the catalytic issue that's bringing us together, but there are other objectives of course, but that’s the one that’s now created the impetus for us to get together.
JOHN: Let’s talk about some of the best practice concepts that are consistent from state to state.
SCOTT: One of those is that what sets us apart is that John, we need rather than an online thing where we thought of a form and it is sent in. We as local agents, our practices to meet with the family face-to-face, meet with the potential residents face-to-face when it’s all possible, we refer to places that we have been to, that we've worked with before, that we have an ongoing history with. Online companies refer you to places that someone in Colorado has never been to a place in Arizona, they've got them in their database, but they don’t know how to finesse this.
JOHN: It's just there to make money really.
SCOTT: It's just there to make the money, make the connections and so on that face-to-face presents sets us apart from the online company, so that’s one of the best practices that’s consistent across the country. Here's another one; there are lots of people that assisted-living is costly, they get involved in their state Medicaid programs, different states have different programs, but they are all government-funded and government-supported. And so, it's illegal for us and it’s the best practice that we would charge any providers for referral for someone who’s already involved and enrolled in one of those state Medicaid programs, so that’s out of bound, that’s consistent.
Our payment, the way we get compensated and paid is via the families don’t pay after via contract with the providers John. And so, there’s a practice that’s going on for years that a guy like me would play someone in a home or a facility, keep a relationship to collect the fee, keep a relationship with the family and then 2, 3, 4 months later stimulate a reason to move and move them to the next facility for the second placement and the third placement.
JOHN: That's like snake little stuff; I don't like that at all.
SCOTT: We call that journey, so we're having a consistent policy against that, which is adopted into our national best practices. We require professionals to carry liability insurance, we need to protect or advocate for educators, that’s what we do. So we need to carry on professional liability insurance that, that's what professionals do, realtors do, attorneys do, physicians do, and nurses do. We need to carry on professional business liability insurance; there are four or five, we’ve identified 11 across-the-board that we're going to adopt and they're on our website now. But there’s a highlight of a handful of them John and those are really important that we all buy into and adhere too.
JOHN: It sounds like you've already kind of touched on my last question which is; are there any plans for licensing or regulating any national certification or credential that is to be coming down the pipe.
SCOTT: Most people say that licensing is the way to go and all that and I would challenge that. I was a registered nurse for years and nursing director and I would get these quarterly newsletters from the state board of nursing here in Arizona and I would have hundreds of people with licenses that were in trouble for stealing medication, sleep on-the-job, drinking at work. Those were all these violations of practice. So licensing doesn’t necessarily make people good people or doesn't necessarily curb their chroming behavior.
JOHN: That’s for sure.
SCOTT: I think that if we go about this in terms of best practices where people voluntarily adhere to these things, sign their names to it and we hold them accountable. And then the second part of that is this national concept of certification or credentialing. NPRA is looking at a way and we're going to create a subcommittee across the nation of looking and creating a curriculum that industry-specific that would be our national brand, our national credential that agents, not just companies, but the individual agents would be educated on after continuing education on an annual or semiannual basis or whatever and have that national certification or credential. The only thing that's out there right now is a national company called ''the certified senior advisor credential'', it's the CSA. It’s not specific to our industry, although a lot of our industry professionals have gotten that credential, we want this thing to be very specific to a particular industry and even potentially tailored state to state, so that’s our plan.
JOHN: It sounds like a great start, I will be excited to watch this thing take root and grow. So today we got some pretty darn good insight into the senior living placement industry and I like to thank you, Scott. Scott from the national placement referral alliance, and I'd like to thank him for joining us today. Scott, if anyone wants to speak with you about senior housing needs for their loved one, what's the best way to get in touch with you?
SCOTT: Thanks John! Our local office number here in Phoenix or 602-845-1320, that’s our options for senior living office. Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org and definitely take a look at our website for the national alliance too john, and that's of www.npralliance.org.
JOHN: Beautiful! Thank you, everyone, for listening, I'm Phoenix real estate agent and senior real estate specialist John Cunningham with my special guest Scott Fischer signing off. Until next time, thank you for joining us.