AHCA/NCAL: Future of LTC relies on leadership and resilience

American Health Care Association Chair Neil Pruitt, Jr. praised the relentless efforts and dedication of those who work in long-term care at today’s opening session of the 63rd Annual American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) Convention & Expo in Tampa, Fla.  “Where we work, our frustrations and challenges know no quitting times, and they don’t take lunch breaks,” he told the audience of more than 2,000 attendees. “Our elected officials would be better served listening to our insights. We’ve earned our seat at the table.”

David Kyllo, executive director of the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) reinforced his organization’s commitment to ensuring that assisted living is recognized as a key space for Medicare recipients. “Our strength lies in our state affiliates and in our continued partnership with skilled nursing,” he said. “It’s kind of like a marriage—they grow and change together, through the good and the bad, in sickness and in health… but there’s no ‘til death do us part.’”

Quality initiatives continue to draw on the passion and dedication of those in the field, he said. “Assisted living does not need the government to define for us what a commitment to quality looks like.” LTC facilities can help educate legislators on the quality care efforts by offering tours of their facilities, holding education/advocacy meeting in their cities and participating in letter-writing campaigns to legislators, Kyllo suggested, adding that “in 2012, NCAL helped sound the alarm on a dangerous proposed definition of home- and community-based settings under Medicaid.”

Despite the resilience and creative milestones of many in the industry, a  nervous atmosphere accompanies the upcoming presidential election and its potential impact on Medicare and healthcare reform, AHCA’s Pruitt noted. “Any changes to Medicare/Medicare have very real consequences."

Stay tuned for ongoing coverage from the AHCA/NCAL conference!

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