What Have We Done for You Lately? – November 2017

Our Story | November 29, 2017

LeadingAge is proud of the work it does every day to serve our members. Here are some highlights of our work for you during November 2017.

Spoke Out Strongly Against Proposed Tax Reform Legislation

LeadingAge continues to urge Senators to vote against the tax code overhaul, which could be brought to the Senate floor this week. We’re concerned about the bill’s overall impact on the federal budget and on the future availability of essential resources for Medicare, Medicaid, senior housing, and home and community-based services.

LeadingAge released a statement on Nov. 3 voicing its opposition to any tax legislation that:

  • Eliminates the medical expense deduction, advance refunding, and private bond funding;
  • Changes charitable deductions; or
  • Eliminates tax exemptions for the development and preservation of affordable housing.

Some provisions of the bill passed by the House of Representatives on Nov. 16 differ from the Senate measure now being considered. However, both versions of the legislation contain specific provisions that are problematic for our field. LeadingAge outlined those provisions for members on Nov. 20, and issued Action Alerts asking members and their residents/clients to urge lawmakers to draft legislation that will help—not hurt—older Americans.

Continued Raising and Distributing Disaster Relief Funds

LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan released a video message on Nov. 27 to update members about the Disaster Relief Fund that LeadingAge launched to help members recover from this fall’s hurricanes and wildfires. To date, the disaster relief fund has collected almost $600,000 from more than 1,000 donors. As promised, LeadingAge is distributing these funds to disaster-affected members, their staffs, and their residents.

“It is in times like these, that being part of a community like LeadingAge is a source of strength and support,” said Sloan. “So, to those who have worked endless hours to keep residents, clients and staff safe, you have our deepest admiration. And to those of you who have donated to the Disaster Relief Fund, you have our deepest gratitude.”

Delivered Checks to California Members Recovering from Wildfires

On Nov. 16, Nancy Hooks, vice president, member relations & engagement at LeadingAge, and Melanie Ripley, director of membership at LeadingAge California, visited 5 California members recovering from the October wildfires that ravaged Santa Rosa. Each organization received a $5,000 check from the LeadingAge Disaster Relief Fund, and a $1,000 check from the LeadingAge California Disaster Fund. The recipients included:

  • Jennings Court in Walnut Creek: Residents were evacuated from the community after it lost all utilities, and experienced poor air quality.
  • Spring Lake Village in Santa Rosa: Eleven Spring Lake Village team members lost their homes. In response, the community initiated a donation drive that has raised more than $91,000.
  • Acacia Lane Apartments in Santa Rosa: The community and its employees are supporting and offering relocation assistance to 170 older adults who were displaced from a local mobile home park.
  • Friends House in Santa Rosa: Residents were evacuated in response to the quickly approaching wildfire on Oct. 9. Fortunately, that fire and others never reached the property.
  • The Meadows of Napa Valley in Napa: This community accepted 28 residents who were evacuated from Friends House.

Stood Up for Housing Members

LeadingAge has been working with its Washington, DC, partners to make sure the voices of housing providers are heard as Congress considers funding levels for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) budget for fiscal year 2018 (FY18). As a part of the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding, LeadingAge participated in a webinar about HUD’s FY18 funding attended by more than 250 housing advocates.

As the convener of the Elderly Housing Coalition (EHC), LeadingAge coordinated November visits to Capitol Hill by EHC members to discuss the importance of enacting a final FY18 HUD funding bill, advocate for additional pools of funding if subsequent Continuing Resolutions go into calendar year 2018, and expressed their appreciation for the expansion of HUD’s successful Rental Assistance Demonstration to include Section 202 housing communities with Project Rental Assistance Contracts.

Updated Popular Medicare Calculators

LeadingAge has updated several useful Medicare calculators that are popular with members. Sign in at My.LeadingAge to access these tools:

Advocated for Changes in Federal Policy

During November, our Advocacy Team made its voice heard on your behalf by:

  • Helping to convince the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to announce a moratorium on imposing certain enforcement remedies for specific Phase 2 requirements of participation. Inside Health Policy credited the lobbying efforts by nursing home groups, including LeadingAge, with CMS’s Nov. 24 decision to delay. Over the past year, LeadingAge has lobbied CMS to delay, retract and revise the Requirements of Participation. Although there is not a full delay of Phase 2, CMS listened to our efforts and addressed our concerns about the implementation of the new requirements, as well as the new long-term care survey process. There now is an 18-month moratorium on specific F-Tags from Phase 2.
  • Responding to a Request for Information (RFI) from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). CMMI is seeking a new direction that will focus on empowering beneficiaries as consumers, providing price transparency, increasing choices and competition to drive quality, and reducing costs. LeadingAge responded to the RFI by outlining models for housing, telehealth, integrated services, and home and community-based services, and outlining flaws in the 5-Star Nursing Home System and the Long-Term Care Survey Process.
  • Submitting comments on the draft FY 2018-2022 Strategic Plan released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). LeadingAge is pleased that HHS identified workforce, person-centered care, and collaboration with faith-based community organizations as future strategies for serving older adults and persons with disabilities.
  • Thanking Congresswoman Kristi Noems (R-SD) and the other members of Congress who pushed CMS to rethink its proposal to move forward on the Home Health Groupings model.
  • Thanking Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Kenny Marchant (R-TX) for introducing the Home Health Documentation and Program Improvement Act of 2017 (H.R. 2663), which would help address the overwhelming backlog of denied home health claims on appeal.
  • Thanking Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), and Ben Cardin (D-MD) for re-introducing the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act of 2017 (S.445), which would improve the access of Medicare beneficiaries to home health care.
  • Praising U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright for re-introducing the Improving Care for Vulnerable Older Citizens through Workforce Advancement Act (H.R.3461), which would establish demonstration projects to test models of care that use direct-care workers in advanced roles.

Released 2 New Workforce-Related Resources

Workforce issues remain a high priority for LeadingAge. This month, we released:

  • The third installment in our series of Workforce Innovators podcasts. The new podcast focuses on a work study program developed by Lenbrook, a life plan community in Atlanta, and Cristo Rey Atlanta High School. Subscribe to the LeadingAge Workforce Innovators podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Google Play Podcasts.
  • The November/December issue of LeadingAge magazine explores some of the workforce-related challenges facing members, discusses what LeadingAge is doing to help members meet these challenges, and offers some optimistic looks at promising practices in staff training and retention.