News &  Resources

McVey Monthly Musings: September 2020

McVey Monthly Musings

This is the first post of McVey Monthly Musings, regular updates from Sara McVey on what’s happening at Sequoia Living.

Reactivating Our Programs and Services

As part of our efforts to get to our “new next,” we are carefully reactivating some of our programs and services. I am happy to share that safe outdoor visitations are now taking place at all our CCRCs. We are also proactively approaching the counties with ideas for reactivating more services and programs at our CCRCs.

Flu Shots

It’s more important than ever to get your flu shot this fall. In the coming weeks, flu shots will be available at Sequoia Living CCRCs for residents and staff. Flu shots are also available at your doctor’s office, health clinic, and other locations. Use the Vaccine Finder website to find a vaccination site near you.

Sequoia Superhero Spotlights

We are Sequoia Strong because of the people who bring their superpowers to the important work we do every day. To cultivate a culture of celebration, we are recognizing Sequoia Superheroes on our Wednesday afternoon all-staff calls. Any staff member can submit a Superhero Spotlight form about anyone who works here. Forms are sent out via email and are also available at your community’s reception desk.

Please share the weekly Superhero Spotlights flyers with residents, customers, and staff—and don’t forget to like Sequoia Living’s Facebook page  for the latest Superhero Spotlights.

Housing Resources During COVID-19

Do you need information about housing during COVID-19? The Housing is Key website is a helpful resource for tenants, homeowners, and landlords.

Everbridge Updates

You may have received messages from Sequoia Living via Everbridge, our new mass notification system. We plan to use Everbridge primarily for urgent or time-sensitive communications. Sequoia Living staff, please make sure that HR has your correct personal email address and cell number on file.

Survey Results

Many thanks to the 324 CCRC residents who shared their insights, perspectives, and candid feedback in this summer’s short survey about COVID-19 and the “new next” at Sequoia Living. Since the survey, there has been much progress that correlates with the suggestions and insights provided.

  • 97.3% of all respondents said they feel informed about Sequoia Living’s response to COVID-19.
  • 86.3% of respondents approve of the Sequoia Living Action Plan, which has been on our website since March.
  • 87.7% would like more information about how Sequoia Living is doing financially. As a result, residents and I participated in Zoom calls in July and August.

The comments consistently centered around the physical and mental impacts of the safeguarding restrictions, continuing to stay safe during COVID-19, and financial impacts. Resident comments also expressed gratitude for Sequoia Living staff members and leadership, their health and safety, and the care they are receiving during this challenging time.

There was also a fair amount of community-specific feedback and questions, which are being provided to the Executive Directors for follow-up with residents.

Bright Spots

  • As of September 24, 2020, out of over 1900 residents at seven locations, we have had one resident COVID-19 case since the pandemic began. The resident has fully recovered.
  • As of September 24, 2020, out of 720 staff members, 21 have recovered from COVID-19 since March, as of today. All had full salary continuation throughout.
  • 52 people are scheduled to move into Viamonte during December.
  • The federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) deposited $240,250 into the Sequoia Living bank account with funds from the CARES Act. We previously received $1.2M of CARES Act funds to cover a percentage of skilled nursing revenue that was lost due to COVID-19.

Sequoia Status Snippets

Sequoia Living Occupancy

As of August 31, the average occupancy at Western and Eastern Park Apartments and Town Park Towers is 94.2%. The Woods is 100% occupied, similar to previous months.

Our CCRC Independent Living occupancy held steady at The Sequoias San Francisco, Portola Valley, and Tamalpais, averaging 94.7% as of the end of August. The average occupancy for Skilled Nursing is 61.9%, Assisted Living is 93.4%, and Memory Care is 75.5%.

Skilled Nursing occupancy took the biggest hit because we stopped taking Medicare admissions in March. We are slowly moving to reopen Skilled Nursing to outside admissions.

As of July 2020, there are 905 CCRC residents with an average age of 85.49 and average length of stay of 13.42 years.

2020 CCRC Entrance Fee Status

Sequoia Living relies heavily on strong occupancy and a regular collection of entrance fees to cover the costs of running our CCRCs and ongoing capital investments.

During 2019, we collected $19M in entrance fees. As of July 31, 2020, we have collected $6.13M in new entrance fees and $1.26M from current residents who have upgraded apartments, for a total of $7.39M so far this year. Our expected year-end entrance fee total is $10M, which is about half of what we budgeted for this year.

Starting in March, the Board of Directors and leadership began studying and adjusting our financial projections to ensure we have a clear vision of COVID-19’s impact on occupancy and revenue.

Our revenue recovery efforts are underway with heightened expense management, prioritizing capital spends for life safety initiatives and a third-party review of our operations to identify cost creep (see Operational Audits).

CCRC Operational Audits

At the beginning of 2020, we began working with a third-party firm to review our operations and benchmark us against similar organizations to identify where we can improve and where we perform well. The goal of these studies is to provide Executive Directors and departmental leadership with guidance on ways to control costs while continuing to bolster quality and satisfaction.

2021 Budget

Planning for 2021 is underway with staff across all areas of Sequoia Living.

Strategic Planning

Members of the Strategic Planning Committee have been meeting since May to examine each part of Sequoia Living. The goal is to understand where we are today and where we should consider heading. Our strategic priorities will be clarified by the end of 2020.

Diversity and Inclusion Task Force

Board and staff members have come together to assess Sequoia Living’s current commitments to our residents, staff, and Board, and make recommendations to enhance our effectiveness in creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive organizational culture, including anti-racist education and training.

Bouncing Forward into the “New Next”

As we have said before, Sequoia Living is leaving “normal” behind and focusing on the “new next.”

We are not waiting for things to bounce back; we are making strides to bounce forward into an even better version than who we were yesterday. Because of the people who live, learn, and work here, we are Sequoia Strong.

Sara McVey

Sara McVey
President & CEO, Sequoia Living