Jim Bettendorf headshot
Jim Bettendorf

The COVID-19 pandemic is creating a prolonged period of disruption, change and risk for many senior living organizations. Amidst this, operators must take the time to ensure agile board oversight, dynamic strategy execution and proactive risk management are all undertaken and well aligned to help the organization thrive, speakers said Thursday during a session at the 2020 LeadingAge Annual Meeting Virtual Experience.

Boards need to be more aware, more informed and have the ability to make big decisions with long-term implications more quickly than ever before, noted Bill Bojan, director of business risk services at CliftonLarsonAllen. For some firms, this may require their boards to “go to the next level” in their board processes, deliberations and outcomes, he added.

Jim Bettendorf, president and CEO of Brooklyn Park, MN-based Vista Prairie Communities, also said that organizations should work to implement more frequent planning, execution, monitoring and refinement of their strategies and understand that course corrections may need to be more dramatic than in the past. 

Finally, when it comes to risk management, the nature and unpredictability of the current environment requires a new level of proactivity, Bettendorf added. Vista Prairie operates eight senior living communities in three states, and the firm has had to take time to understand and proactively address the shift in its risk profile amid the pandemic to preserve the health and well-being of the organization.

Doing so has required a broad base assessment from all levels of the organization in terms of what the new and ongoing risks are, Bettendorf said. 

“I can sit in my office and say, ‘These are our risks,’ but I may not know all the risks that we’re seeing in direct site operations, so it’s very important to get that broad spectrum of opinion on what the risks are,” he said.

The meeting continues Tuesday through Thursday next week.