U.S. News & World Report and Caring.com on Tuesday launched a new directory that will provide seniors and their families information on assisted living communities and advice on how to make informed decisions.
The new directory will include data on more than 8,700 assisted living facilities in the U.S. Eventually, the directory will include a ranking system of the best communities in a given market, U.S. News Senior Health Data Analyst Zachary Adams told Senior Housing News.
Online senior housing information and referral platform Caring.com is powering the directory with core information and user reviews of senior living providers. U.S. News will contribute additional insight to the assisted living profiles by bringing in information from its Best Hospitals and Best Nursing Homes.
The new directory builds upon an existing relationship between Caring.com and U.S. News, the media company which publishes consumer advice in addition to news and opinion. The two companies launched a nursing home finder in 2013 which gives people seeking resources on skilled nursing facilities information and rankings on over 15,000 facilities.
U.S. News ranks nursing homes in its directory using data available from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). It has no immediate plan to rank assisted living facilities.
The collaboration has a couple notable benefits, Caring.com General Manager for In-Home Care and Media Partnerships Ben Jackowitz told SHN. First, the directory brings Caring.com’s listings and information to a broader audience.
“Our ultimate goal is to get in front of as many people as we can to provide our information and resources,” he said.
Second, by focusing mainly on assisted living, U.S. News hopes to make it easier for people to understand the levels of care that are offered, thereby giving them the ability to make an educated decision on the care offered at specific communities, as well as the ability to research communities that offer multiple levels of care, should a potential resident want to age in place.
The probability of U.S. News bringing its ranking system to the directory will also add a layer of vetting to Caring.com’s listings, and is the latest example of a mainstream publication weighing in on the quality of senior living options. Recently, Fortune published its second-ever “Best Workplaces in Aging Services” rankings. J.D. Power also has launched a senior living certification program.
The marketing information services company started its certification program last year, and Five Star Senior Living (Nasdaq: FVE) has aggressively put its portfolio through the process in an attempt to gain a competitive advantage for referrals. To date, 22 Five Star communities have earned the certification.
If the U.S. News resource increases Caring.com’s lead generation, it could meet with mixed reactions from senior living providers. While some senior living providers rely heavily on referrals from online services, others are are pursuing concerted efforts to rely less on third-party referrals and more on organic marketing efforts.
A July 2018 report from investment banking firm Ziegler revealed that utilizing third-party senior living referral sources did not produce desirable leads, and that the leads were of poor quality for the price referral services charged, in the eyes of the senior living financial executives surveyed.
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