Industry Insights

Looking Back at the 2015 LeadingAge Annual Meeting

November 2015
Author:  Chris Murphy

Chris Murphy



Health Care

Two Warren Place
6120 S. Yale Avenue, Suite 1400
Tulsa, OK 74136-4223


I can’t remember the first time I attended the LeadingAge Annual Meeting and Expo, but I’ve attended for at least 10 years, and it gets better every year. This year’s meeting was in Boston, which is a great setting for the meeting—it’s a historic town that’s full of character.

The event has something for everyone in the senior services industry, including some very good educational sessions. Here are a few I attended:

  • “Is Your Organization Financially Healthy?” presented on Sunday afternoon by our own billing gurus Julie Bilyeu and Lisa McIntire. It was amazing to hear the quality of information on revenue cycle oversight, which gave the audience plenty to think about. I was impressed by how engaged they were throughout the presentation—and for quite a while after!
  • With my personal interest in collaboration between acute and post-acute care, I particularly enjoyed several sessions on tearing down walls between providers and coming together to improve outcomes and efficiency. Some terrific ideas were shared.
  • Danny Eischen, executive director of Concordia Senior Living in Oklahoma City, participated in an impressive session on turnaround strategies. It was enlightening to see Danny’s humility and selflessness in presenting the lessons Concordia’s board and leadership learned through the process.
  • Ziegler presented a good session announcing the release of the 2015 CARF Financial Ratios & Trend Analysis. This publication is the book on benchmarking for not-for-profit life plan communities. The presenters’ color commentary alone makes this session worth attending each year.

In addition to the educational sessions, LeadingAge offers top-notch general session speakers. I was excited to see Dr. Atul Gawande present information from his recent book, Being Mortal. This book certainly changed the way I view health care in general and aging services in particular. It’s a must-read for anyone in the field.

Daniel Pink presented “The Art of Motivation.” Given generational changes and the turnover challenges our industry faces, this session was much appreciated. He had some great ideas on feedback and communication, some of which I’ve already started to implement with my own team members.

One of the highlights of the meeting was Larry Minnix’s sendoff. Minnix announced his retirement from LeadingAge earlier this year. He has been an articulate and passionate leader in the aging services industry during his tenure at LeadingAge, and his retirement tribute was full of good humor and emotion. Larry will be missed, but he leaves LeadingAge in the very capable hands of Katie Smith Sloan.

Of course, the event showcases stunning diversity of exhibitors—it’s the place to be to see innovations in technology. The BKD crew always enjoys connecting with clients, meeting senior services providers we haven’t worked with before and seeing the new technology on hand.

The 2015 LeadingAge Annual Meeting was four days of nonstop learning, fellowship and fun with some of the best people in our industry. I’ll be going to the 2016 meeting in Indianapolis, and I hope to see you there!

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