Jim Lydiard, Chief Strategy Officer, Pine Park Health, Sets the Stage as NIC Partnering for Health Committee Chair 

by Ryan Brooks  / May 22, 2024

Partnering for Health  • Industry Leaders and Experts  • Research  • Blog

“We have entered unprecedented times in the convergence of healthcare and housing. I am continually surprised how industry quasi-competitors come together in unity, advancement, and common spirit.” 

NIC’s Strategic Plan includes objectives to ‘expand the tent’ across five key focus areas – Active Adult, AgeTech, Capital for Operations, Middle Market, and Partnering for Health. Focus Area Committees (FACs) were formed to support these efforts.   The Partnering for Health Committee is led by Chair Jim Lydiard, Chief Strategy Officer at Pine Park Health. We had a chance to talk with Jim and hear his thoughts about this important committee.     

NIC: How did you first get involved with NIC as a volunteer? 

Lydiard: My involvement began at the 2020 NIC Spring Conference in San Diego. My former CareMore (now SCAN) leadership, Dr. Sachin Jain and Karen Schulte, asked that I attend on behalf of CareMore/Anthem, given my responsibilities overseeing our Touch program (the CareMore delivery program bringing benefits/care to members living in senior housing settings). We had recently entered  into an exciting partnership with Welltower and had hit our stride as an industry leader in the Institutional Equivalent Special Needs Plan evolution and were generating impressive resident care outcomes. In addition to joining the pre-conference leadership summit, I had the distinct pleasure of speaking on two panels. Prior to that conference, I thought my small space in healthcare was relatively unnoticed, too niche, not mainstream enough, etc. However, for those few days, and the years since, I have seen how vast the community of healthcare providers within senior housing has become. It was very inspiring, and I’ve since looked for ways to collaborate with NIC as often as possible.  

NIC: You are the chair of the Partnering for Health Focus Area Committee. Can you tell us about the composition of the committee? 

Lydiard: When asked to join and ultimately chair the committee, my first sense was one of honor followed by a sense of duty. We have entered unprecedented times in the convergence of healthcare and housing. I am continually surprised how industry quasi-competitors come together in unity, advancement, and common spirit. I have had the privilege of working alongside some of the brightest, most driven, and innovative leaders/organizations across both the care delivery and housing side of this space dating back to 2007. When thinking about others NIC needed to round out the ideal Partnering for Health Committee, I ultimately aimed for diversity above all else—seasoned vets, as well as newcomers; payers, as well as providers; Care Delivery Organizations, as well as true senior housing operators. And somewhat selfishly, I hoped to convene a group that would be a joy to be around while we build/curate together.  

NIC: Why do you think it’s important for NIC to focus on Partnering for Health? 

Lydiard: It continues to “take a village.” The average resident moving into IL/AL/MC/LTC is frailer and needs far more healthcare touches to age in place than ever before. I can probably count on one hand the number of organizations that are truly vertically integrated in senior housing. A (1) senior living owner/operator that is also (2) fully at healthcare risk of the residents, while (3) delivering the primary care is truly rare. Examples of even two of the three being done by the same operation is rare – and this doesn’t even factor in layers from within each of the three categories, such as pharmacy, data/analytics, mobile specialty, durable medical equipment, mobile lab, home health, hospice, etc. In almost all situations, partnerships are the only way to deliver the care these residents want, need, and deserve. Resident experience warrants cohesion, not more of the same fragmented healthcare system seniors have mostly experienced in the years leading up to moving into a community.  

NIC: What does the Partnering for Health Committee aim to accomplish in the next year? 

Lydiard: Recommendations for conference planning, NIC academy curriculum, research, position papers, and possibly ad hoc podcasts/forums. In the present time of innovation, it is mission critical the committee stays abreast on current events, trends, policy, and the countless ways audiences learn and apply action. As such, we expect various forums and output from the committee, ensuring those that routinely turn to and rely on NIC have the resources they need at their fingertips.