Policy, workforce issues focus of Argentum events this week

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The U.S. Capitol
The U.S. Capitol

Argentum members will be concentrating on governmental and staffing issues affecting senior living operators and residents this week as the organization holds a Public Policy Institute, Fly-in and Workforce Development Symposium in Washington, DC.

“These types of events provide a great opportunity to let members of Congress know about resident characteristics of the seniors we serve along with what the different levels and different settings of senior living are,” Paul Williams, Argentum's vice president of government relations, remarked about the fly-in to McKnight's Senior Living. “There are so many new members or members who have been there but are new to committees or these issues in general.”

The Public Policy Institute, on Tuesday for Argentum members, will feature presentations from speakers from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association for the Support of Long Term Care, the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the National Adult Protective Services Association.

Attendees will “be getting a number of briefs related to issues of importance” in aging and healthcare, Williams said.

Another session will cover the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' final rule on home- and community-based services for Medicaid beneficiaries, Williams said. “We'll have representatives from CMS be able to talk about what's gone on since the announcement” in May that states were being given three additional years to comply, he added.

Wednesday's “fly-in” will be dedicated to visits on Capitol Hill with members of the House of Representatives and Senate and their staffs.

Topics of conversation, Williams said, will center on Argentum's five areas of focus: consumer choice, workforce development, quality care, memory care and operational excellence.

“One of the things that a lot of members of Congress and their staffs are stunned to find out is that senior living is 85 percent private-pay,” Williams said. “It's sometimes a big revelation to them that most seniors and their families are the ones who are paying for the care in senior living settings that are not nursing homes. And some don't understand the difference in regulation. Some are surprised to find that we are regulated in all 50 states and that there is a series of inspections to ensure resident safety.”

Among offices with which fly-in participants will meet are those of Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Bob Casey (D-PA), chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, and the founders of the relatively new congressional bipartisan Elder Justice Caucus, Reps. Peter King (R-NY) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR).

After the fly-in, on Thursday, Argentum will host a Workforce Development Symposium. There, Williams said, senior living executives who have responsibilities related to human resources and operations will hear presentations from Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), chair of the House Committee on Education and Workforce, and Argentum's Workforce Development Committee.

Consultant Bruce Tulgan of RainmakerThinking will facilitate two sessions, one of which will cover employee turnover, retention and engagement. “He'll be looking at evidence-based solutions and outcomes that have worked in other industries,” Williams said.

The second session will examine the intergenerational makeup of the workforce, he added. “It will be a look at the challenges with each set and issues to promote compatibility, which promotes good outcomes and efficiencies,” Williams said.

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