Quality remains a shared priority for two groups of senior living associations involved in a dispute over whether Argentum should be permitted to develop national standards for the industry through the American National Standards Institute, the groups said Tuesday as they await the outcome of an ANSI hearing to decide the matter.

It will be approximately three weeks until ANSI issues a written decision related to Tuesday’s hearing, ANSI Executive Standards Council Secretary Anne Caldas told McKnight’s Senior Living.

As previously reported, Argentum applied to ANSI in April to be a developer of voluntary standards for senior living — independent living, assisted living, memory care and continuing care retirement communities — and ANSI approved the application in September. The effort, however, is opposed by the American Seniors Housing Association, LeadingAge and the National Center for Assisted Living. ANSI heard their appeal jointly on Tuesday. The Center for Excellence in Assisted Living, which counts among its members Argentum, ASHA, LeadingAge and NCAL, argued an appeal separately.

The objecting associations maintain that the standards process needs to be driven by consensus or that the existence of ANSI standards could put senior living organizations at risk of being sued or could lead to federal regulation. Some of the organizations believe that association-level quality efforts are appropriate alternatives to ANSI standards.

| Provider groups debate whether industry-developed standards would put operators at risk |

All four associations said Tuesday that, regardless of the outcome of the hearing, they hope to work together to ensure quality in the industry.

Quality is the “utmost priority for all providers who care for older adults,” said a joint statement from ASHA President David Schless, LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Sloan and NCAL Executive Director Scott Tittle.

“With four predominant organizations representing senior living, each plays a unique role in shaping our profession’s future and in serving its respective members,” the statement continued. “However, when initiatives demonstrate potential to have a widespread effect on the entire profession, it is important that we work together — as well as with all senior living stakeholders — to reach an overwhelming consensus. One association alone should not have full discretion to embark on such an immense effort.”

In a separate statement, Argentum President and CEO James Balda said the association was “encouraged by the dialogue we continue to have with our association partners and other stakeholders to identify a collaborative path forward for the development of industry best practices, among other opportunities.”

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