What Have We Done for You Lately? – December 2017

Our Story | January 03, 2018

LeadingAge is proud of the work it does every day to serve our members. Here are some highlights of our work for you during December 2017, when we advocated to save important federal tax provisions, proposed a new vision for integrated service delivery, released a new cybersecurity resource, and much more. Please follow the links below to learn more.

Helped Preserve Important Tax Provisions

H.R. 1, informally known as the “Tax Cut Bill,” was signed by President Trump on Dec. 22. While the bill is projected to increase the federal budget deficit by $1.4 trillion over the next decade, and raises concerns about future cuts to social safety net programs, its final version ameliorated some of the worst provisions of the original House legislation.

LeadingAge, our members, residents, and clients successfully advocated to preserve several tax provisions that are so important to the people we serve, including the medical expense deduction and the tax exemption for interest income on private activity bonds.

We are proud of, and grateful to, members who made calls, wrote letters and op-eds, and visited members of Congress so our collective voice could be heard. Working together, we made a significant impact.

Proposed a New Vision for Integrated Service Delivery

In mid-December, LeadingAge released a major report describing our vision for a person-centered, integrated service delivery system that we believe can provide coordinated services and supports to all older Americans, reduce the number of older adults who develop high needs and high costs, and slow the growth of Medicaid and other public financing. That new vision is described in Integrated Service Delivery: A LeadingAge Vision for America’s Aging Population.

You’ll be hearing more about this report and our vision for integrated service delivery in the coming months. We plan to share our vision with policymakers, and we’ll be encouraging LeadingAge members to brainstorm about implementation strategies during the PEAK Leadership Summit, March 18-21 in Washington, DC.

Released Resources on Cybersecurity

Concerned about the threat of criminal or unauthorized use of your organization’s electronic data? You should be.

That’s why the LeadingAge Center for Aging Services Technologies (CAST) released its new Cybersecurity White Paper in December. The white paper will help you understand the growing cybersecurity threat, learn how to mitigate risks, and develop a plan to respond when an attack occurs. A companion Benchmarking Questionnaire helps organizations assess cybersecurity issues that warrant their attention so they can stay ahead of cyber threats.

We urge you to review these important resources to safeguard your data and protect your residents and clients. In addition, check out 2 new case studies from CAST: Care Coordination Technology Supports Population Health Management and Creating a Real-Life Video Experience for Individuals Facing Memory Loss.

Provided Disaster Relief to Puerto Rico

Three executives from LeadingAge member organizations joined Nancy Hooks, LeadingAge vice president, membership relations & engagement, on a December trip to Puerto Rico. The LeadingAge delegation delivered more than $100,000 in donations to aging services providers still struggling to help their staff and residents recover from the devastating damage caused by Hurricane Maria in September.

The delegation included LeadingAge Board Member Roberto Muniz, chief executive officer (CEO) of Parker in Piscataway, NJ; Michelle Norris, executive vice president of National Church Residences; and Mike King, CEO of Volunteers of America. The 4 LeadingAge representatives delivered financial support and encouragement to residents and team members at 6 hard-hit residences where older adults lived for months without electricity, functional kitchens, working elevators, adequate water, and food in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

The donations came from the LeadingAge Disaster Fund, which has raised more than $650,000 since September to help those affected by natural disasters, including hurricanes and wild fires.

Advocated for Changes in Federal Policy

During December, LeadingAge made its voice heard on your behalf by:

  • Protesting the repeal of net neutrality. A decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to end net neutrality could dramatically limit or reduce internet access for providers of aging services and the older adults they serve. LeadingAge urged the FCC to retain net neutrality rules for reasons that CAST Executive Director Majd Alwan outlined in McKnight's Long-Term Care News.
  • Applauding bipartisan support for the extension of funding and improvements for the Money Follows the Person Demonstration. We encouraged Congress to address challenges in transitioning older adults from nursing homes back into the community, especially the insufficient supply of affordable and accessible housing.
  • Submitting 12 pages of comments on the Service Coordinator in Multifamily Housing Program Resource Guide draft. The draft guide focuses on how to operate an effective service coordination program in HUD-assisted multifamily housing programs.
  • Updating its resources on Quality. The updated Quality section of our website features quality tools, promising practices, tips for creating a quality culture, and regulatory requirements addressing quality.

Conducted Research to Help Members Do Their Work

It’s been a busy research year for LeadingAge. We established the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston, made progress on groundbreaking studies designed to test housing plus services models, and documented the impressive benefits associated with culture change in nursing homes.

Our research agenda has one primary goal: to build the capacity of LeadingAge members to develop and replicate programs that have been proven effective. We invite you to review the LTSS Center's 2017 Annual Report, which summarizes our efforts to build an evidence base that supports the work you do.

Served as a Thought Leader on a Variety of Topics

During December, LeadingAge content experts shared their insights on a variety of issues facing older Americans and the field of aging services. These communication efforts educated the public about the needs of older adults, while spreading the word about the important work that LeadingAge members do. For example:

  • Kirsten Jacobs, associate director of dementia and wellness, addressed ways to reduce isolation among people living with dementia. Her blog, “Unlocking the Door to Dementia Care,” appeared in December’s Life Plan Community/Assisted Living Report.
  • Linda Couch, vice president for housing policy, congressional affairs and housing, addressed the threats facing affordable housing in an interview with McKnight’s Long-Term Care News.
  • Robyn Stone, senior vice president of research, outlined the one thing she would like to change about aging in America. Stone’s blog, “A Better Future for Older Americans — If We Speak Up,” was published by Next Avenue, which named Stone a 2017 Influencer in Aging.
  • Janine Finck-Boyle, director of health regulations and policy, talked about the struggles of nonprofit providers trying to comply with the new Requirements of Participation during an interview with The New York Times. She is quoted in “Trump Administration Eases Nursing Home Fines in Victory for Industry.”

Created a New Podcast Series

Aging Unmasked is a new podcast designed to normalize, humanize, and unmask taboos in aging. The first episode explores sex and aging with Dr. Ruth Westheimer, noted sex expert; Dr. Cheryl Phillips, a nursing home sex policy innovator; and Dan Reingold, CEO of the Hebrew Home at Riverdale. Download the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Podcasts, and Stitcher.