FHCA recently interviewed Victor Piperata, executive director at Cypress Palms in Largo and Assisted Living Facility Vice President on the FHCA Board of Directors. Victor worked in the skilled nursing sector for over 15 years and then decided to transition into the assisted living sector to expand his knowledge and learn a different product line. When the opportunity for a move emerged within The Goodman Group, parent company for Cypress Palms, Victor took the leap and has since been with Cypress Palms for nearly five years. After experiencing the regulatory environment of skilled nursing, he’s enjoyed the more resident-friendly environment that the ALF setting brings. It’s afforded him more opportunities to interact with residents and staff. Get to know Victor and his thoughts on being an ALF leader with Florida Health Care Association.
As Executive Director of Cypress Palms, a 150 extended congregate care licensed assisted living facility, tell us about the uniqueness of you community, staff, and the residents.
Cypress Palms is part of The Palms of Largo. This property is truly unique as we sit on 95 acres and provide a full continuum of care from independent living (Royal Palms), to assisted living (Cypress & Regal Palms), skilled nursing (Sabal Palms), pediatric unit, a day care – The Learning Center (Pre-K), 55-plus community & rental property (Silver & Imperial Palms); in addition, we offer Rock Steady Boxing for Parkinson’s, Bonsai spa with therapeutic pool, spa and gym, and on-site home health company (Able Care Connect).
We have tenured staff with 5 years, 10 years, and 15 years plus of service. Our retention is 80% and staff feel more like family. I am blessed as an Executive Director to have such caring and loving staff that provide a homelike, family atmosphere.
Cypress Palms was awarded the Platinum Service Award by The Goodman Group for 2020 at our annual conference. This award is given for great customer service – the way staff make residents, families & guests feel when they enter the facility.
Our residents are active and engaged. They enjoy Life Enrichment programs and having fun. They also help to make Cypress a great place to work. They care about staff and love giving back to the community through volunteering their time to help gather supplies to give out around Pinellas County. This is achieved by working with my Life Enrichment & Spiritual Directors & our Regional Volunteer Coordinator.
How long have you been a member of FHCA and what made you choose FHCA over other state long term care organizations?
I have been a member for all of my career, 20 years (2001-2021). I like being a member for the overall connection to other administrators, facilities, and providers. I feel it builds a sense of community through annual conferences and monthly meetings which provide additional education and fellowship. The [FHCA team] in Tallahassee provides great support and resources to the field.
In your opinion, please describe how FHCA has changed over the past years?
I feel we have more communication and explanations of what is happening behind the scenes, whether in DC, Tallahassee or nationally. FHCA has grown and adapted with the times and remains relevant.
Do you believe that FHCA is able to meet the needs of other assisted living facilities in Florida?
I do, I feel FHCA is evolving and [representing] assisted living makes perfect sense for executive directors [around the state]. FHCA can provide guidance and resources on a larger scale.
What are some of the “added benefits” that makes membership in FHCA attractive to your organization as an assisted living facility?
Connection to the political scene in DC, lobbying on our behalf to voice our concerns nationally. [I also feel the] link to AHCA and CMS and assisting in conversations is valuable.
With the challenges that assisted living facilities face with increasing needs and workforce issues, what do you think FHCA can focus on to help you overcome these challenges?
Finding staff, i.e. nurses, C.N.As, housekeepers, etc., with all the opportunities and competition in the surrounding community. I think it’s reaching a new demographic – folks who never thought of health care as a career path – how do we reach them & educate them better?
As an assisted living member, how do you think FHCA can support other assisted living members as we move forward in the long term care continuum?
One area is the annual conference – creating more ALF tracks to pull ALF leaders in. Working with other associations in the for-profit and non-profit world could open up roadways.