Approximately 100 senior living CEOs, senior vice presidents, executive directors and other leaders, as well as Argentum staff members, are descending on the nation’s capital Tuesday and Wednesday as part of the association’s Public Policy Institute and Fly-In, a regularly held event.
“For years, we’ve been saying that we’re not regulated at the federal level and we don’t want to be regulated at the federal level, but really, there are so many federal agencies that do have their hands in senior living and so many committees on [Capitol Hill] that do consider legislation that in one way or another would touch us,” Maribeth Bersani, chief operating officer and senior vice president of Argentum, told McKnight’s Senior Living.
Senior living participants will spend Tuesday being briefed on senior living and public policy issues such as federal oversight, labor and workforce challenges, statistics on senior living communities and their residents and Alzheimer’s disease, Bersani said. Among the speakers will be Larry Polivka, Ph.D., executive director of the Claude Pepper Center at Florida State University; representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics; Robert Egge, chief public policy officer of the Alzheimer’s Association; Serena Lowe, systems change and policy strategist at the federal Administration for Community Living; Christopher Laxton, executive director at AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine; Joan Lunden, spokeswoman for A Place for Mom; James Rosen, chief Washington correspondent for Fox News; and a representative from national law firm Jackson Lewis, she added.
Wednesday will be devoted to visits discussing Argentum’s public policy platform with members of Congress.
“Obviously, nothing is going to pass between now and the end of the year that is going to have a major impact on our industry, and next year will be a whole new ballgame,” Bersani said. “So it’s not as if they’re going to go in and say, ‘Please vote for Senate Bill 123.’ But building on our 2025 imperatives, there are a number of issues that the federal government could support and help us with.”
Topics on the agenda, she said, include familiarizing senators and congresspersons with the rebranding of the former Assisted Living Federation of America and the specific statistics related to senior living in their states, the consumer choice philosophy of assisted living, financing long-term care, the provision of Medicaid home- and community-based services in assisted living communities, the industry’s need for 1.2 million workers by 2025, how to encourage people to choose careers in senior living, quality care, physical and financial elder abuse, and funding for memory care research and caregiving.
“I’m excited,” Bersani said. “Even though it is such a state of transition — we’ll be meeting with some people who aren’t running for re-election, and some people might not be there next year — every year, we hope we’ll find one or two or three champions who will really take this issue and run with it.”