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Audrey Weiner Addresses 2012 Annual Meeting

by Published On: Oct 24, 2012


On Oct. 22, LeadingAge's board chair, Audrey Weiner, delivered her address to the LeadingAge Annual Meeting. In her first year as board chair, she has visited with many LeadingAge members across the country and has been awed by their dedication to engagement and innovation.

At her organization, Jewish Home Lifecare, the focus is on achieving the Triple Aim. She noted that the implementation of health care reform will make us more accountable for the care that we deliver. "Though these changes may be hard, we can learn from the many good examples of how our members do the work," she said.

Audrey proceeded to describe examples of programs and organizations that have surpassed the expectations of the Triple Aim:

  • Comfort First, a program at Beatitudes Campus in Phoenix, manages dementia care through a comfort care model that has virtually eliminated the use of antipsychotics in their organization.
  • Council for Jewish Elderly in Chicago has a care management program that has been funded under the CMS Innovation Center grants. It includes partnerships with hospitals and community-based organizations to ensure that clients get the right service at the right time in the right place.
  • LeadingAge's Center for Aging Services Technology has created an Electronic Health records portfolio. It includes an online tool, a series of case studies, and a whitepaper all on the topic of selecting and implementing EHRs. CAST also organized a group of 10 pioneering providers, who implemented innovative technology-enabled care models, to participate in the first Idea Exchange. 
  • LeadingAge’s Center for Applied Research launched the first national effort to assess whether affordable senior housing settings are effective platforms for meeting the service and support needs of low-income residents, funded by the MacArthur Foundation, HHS and HUD. The center has also developed a Resident Assessment Tool, in partnership with Enterprise Community Partners, which members are already using to create programs and services designed to help residents of housing programs remain healthy and independent for as long as possible.

Audrey also mentioned a few additional recent LeadingAge initiatives:

  • LeadingAge's Center for Housing Plus Services is a national catalyst for the development of affordable housing solutions that help low-income seniors age in place
  • LeadingAge's Public Policy Congress is meeting regularly to understand policy development and set collective policy priorities

She ended her speech with a call to action. It is an election year, and it is important that all of us get to vote, and that we ensure the elders in our care, residences, and services have the same opportunity. Then, we must speak up on the issues that are important to us:

  • Avoiding automatic cuts due to sequestration.
  • Addressing the new definition of observation day stays.
  • Reauthorizing the Older Americans Act, expanding housing.
  • Ensuring construction of affordable housing.
  • Protecting Medicaid from block grants.

Audrey finished her speech with an anecdote from a board meeting at a Mather Lifeways building in Chicago. She recalled a particular bartender, Bryan Cheatham, an employee of one of Mather’s remarkable cafes, who happened to be her bartender at the board reception. 

His love for his job shone through with every drink order he took and every smile gave. "He is a reminder to all of us of why we do what we do," Audrey concluded.


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