Political lobbyist at table with microphones
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Representatives from trade associations representing the senior living field have been named to The Hill’s ‘Top Lobbyists 2022” list, published Wednesday.

Argentum President and CEO James Balda and Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association / National Center for Assisted Living, were named under the associations category. Joe Franco, LeadingAge vice president of grassroots, was named to the grassroots list.

“Grassroots work is critical in helping to achieve our advocacy goals, and we’re proud of Joe’s part in that,” a LeadingAge spokeswoman told McKnight’s Senior Living. Franco also made last year’s list.

The list honors the association leaders, grassroots activists, corporate lobbyists and hired guns “who leveraged their expertise and connections to make a difference in the nation’s capital this year.”

The Hill noted that all of those honored on the lists “demonstrated a track record of success in the halls of Congress and the administration during a critical year for policy.”

Balda also was named to the list last year.

Argentum said that Balda’s second consecutive year on the list recognizes the organization’s work to bring the message of senior living communities to policymakers, notably in the areas of workforce development, COVID-19 relief and access to senior living.

Over the past year, Argentum has worked to advance legislation directly affecting the senior living industry, including the Safeguarding Elderly Needs for Infrastructure and Occupational Resources (SENIOR) Act, secure federal and state COVID-19 relief and assistance. 

Argentum also worked to advance appropriations changes that would, for the first time, direct federal workforce development programs to train the workforce needed for senior living communities. 

In addition, Argentum also said it successfully educated professionals the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on senior living communities needing their own unique guidelines. The CDC recently updated its COVID-19 infection prevention and control guidance, distinguishing assisted living from the rest of the long-term care and healthcare sectors.

Balda said he was honored, crediting Argentum’s public affairs team for urging lawmakers and the Biden administration to consider a range of priorities for senior living communities beginning to emerge from the “deep financial strains” brought on by the pandemic.

“Our team at Argentum has really upped our game these past few years, bringing a consistent message about what senior living is, and how our incredible members and their staffs offer the most economical, high-quality and consistent care for seniors looking to make their home in assisted living, memory care and other senior living settings,” Balda said in a statement.

Parkinson has appeared on the list since 2013. 

“I am humbled to be included among so many other incredible advocates and decision-makers within DC and the healthcare space,” Parkinson told McKnight’s Senior Living. “I consider these honors to be a reflection of our entire AHCA / NCAL membership — it takes thousands of us working together to make policymakers understand what’s happening on the ground and what solutions are needed to improve long-term care.

“We will continue to make our voices heard and stand up for our residents, our staff and the future of this sector that is a critical component of the healthcare system.”

Nancy LeaMond, AARP executive vice president and chief advocacy and engagement officer, and Robert Egge, Alzheimer’s Association chief public policy officer, also made the list under the grassroots category.