Bill McGinley & Randy Lindner

Two national organizations representing senior living and health service administrators have come out against a growing movement among state governments to eliminate administrator licensing boards and move those responsibilities to state health departments, calling such moves “detrimental” to the profession.

Bill McGinley, president and CEO of the American College of Health Care Administrators, and Randy Lindner, president and CEO of the National Association of Board of Long-Term Care Administrators Boards, issued a joint statement Monday against stripping independent boards of their licensing responsibilities. The apparent trend, they said, has unintended consequences, including increased costs to states and the loss of the expertise of healthcare professionals and practitioners, as well as compromising the safety and well-being of older adults in senior living communities.

Having licensure boards for individual practitioners under the same agency that regulates and surveys care facilities is “an inappropriate measure to ensure the competency of current and future practicing senior living and health services administrators,” the organizations maintain.

“With respect to licensure and regulation of senior living and health services administrators, most states have recognized the inherent benefit of licensed professionals who engage in a collective effort to provide care and services for the good of the public,” the statement reads. “To ensure the appropriate licensure standards, standards of ethical behavior and conduct, and — ultimately —  the assurance to the public at large that qualified, competent, ethical professionals engage in the practice of senior living and health services administration, is paramount for public safety.”

The letter also raises concerns about representation on investigative committees by those unfamiliar with the profession. The associations recommend models used by other states, in which multiple licensure boards are consolidated under administrative leadership that is independent from other executive branch authorities. That approach, they said, allows experienced professionals to ensure appropriate standards, education and training, competencies and continuing education adhere to professional practice standards. 

“Such a structure and practice will ultimately serve the public good by ensuring competent, ethical practitioners authorized to care for our elderly and their vulnerable individuals,” the statement reads.

In Oklahoma, SB 719, introduced by state Sen. Greg McCortney (R-Ada), would consolidate the Oklahoma State Board of Examiners for Long-Term Care Administrators into the State Department of Health, creating a 17-member Long-Term Care Facility Advisory Board that would meet at least quarterly. If passed, the law would become effective Jan. 1, 2022.

In Arizona, an Arizona long-term care licensing body’s approval of a license for a convicted felon led to a call for an audit of the state’s entire long-term care system. The request came after Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced his intention to disband the Arizona Board of Nursing Care Institution Administrators and Assisted Living Facility Managers and transfer those duties to the Arizona Department of Health Services.