Senate Aging Committee Hearing Focuses on CCRCs

Members | March 22, 2011

A summary of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging's hearing on CCRCs' financial transparency and financial performance.

On July 21, 2010, David Erickson, vice president for legal affairs at Covenant Retirement Communities, testified at a U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing on the financial performance and transparency of continuing care retirement communities (CCRC). Erickson emphasized the growth and stability of CCRCs over the past two decades and the consumer protections that states have put in place to prevent a loss of retirement savings.

A Government Accountability Office (GAO) study of CCRCs was released at the hearing. The GAO study explores the CCRC structure and operations, the nature and adequacy of state regulations and best practices for minimizing financial risk. In a Feb. 13, 2009, letter, Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.), the committee chair, requested that the study focus on three areas:

  • Identifying the different ways CCRCs are structured and operate.
  • Determining the current nature and adequacy of regulation to ensure the financial solvency of CCRCs.
  • Identifying best practices for minimizing the financial risk CCRCs may pose for residents (including best practices for ensuring the financial viability of CCRCs).

LeadingAge staff have been in contact with the GAO staff conducting the study and have provided extensive information about CCRCs. We will continue this dialogue to provide accurate and relevant information showing the important role CCRCs play in meeting the needs of seniors across the country and the many safeguards already in place to assure the continued success of CCRCs.

While the chairman of the Senate Aging Committee requested the GAO study, the Senate Aging Committee is conducting its own study of CCRCs. The committee had requested a significant amount of information about the CCRCs owned or operated/managed by Life Care Services and Brookdale Senior Living.

Also released at the hearing was “Today’s Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC): The Strengths of This Popular Senior Living Model, its Stress points and Challenges…and Its Outlook for Tomorrow,” a paper prepared by a task force of CCRC executives of both not-for-profit and for-profit providers, consultants, financial advisers, and attorneys, in conjunction with LeadingAge, the American Seniors Housing Association and the National Investment Center.

The hearing, "Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs): Secure Retirement or Risky Investment," was held at the Dirksen building, and is available as an archived Webcast.