Nearly 3,000 LeadingAge members participated in 32 Town Hall Conversations across the country during 2019, offering thoughts and comments about “what keeps them up nights” and federal policy changes that could free them up to do what they were established to do: provide mission-driven, consumer-centered services.

Approved by LeadingAge’s national board of directors, this package of preeminent issues are the framework that will guide advocacy efforts of the nonprofit association’s Washington D.C.-based national policy team, as well as those of each of LeadingAge’s 38 state partners, in work with elected officials in Congress and with those at state capitols, as well as other policymakers and stakeholders.

The priorities reflect the input of members: thousands of caregivers at all levels of LeadingAge member types -- from life plan communities and in assisted living, affordable housing communities, in memory care, nursing homes, adult day centers, home care and hospice agencies. The priorities will guide LeadingAge policy efforts in the coming months as we fight for adequate financing, responsive and responsible legislation, and thoughtful regulation that support the best care for older Americans.

For 2020, our advocacy with the Executive Branch and Congress will focus on finding new solutions to the older adults services workforce crisis, promoting top notch care in nursing homes without overburdensome regulations (as many members said: collaborative quality assurance, not punitive), expanding the number of units of affordable housing and promoting housing plus services approaches, ensuring that Medicare and Medicaid managed care programs work well for consumers and providers, supporting home and community-based services including home health and hospice care, and finding a solution to the long-term services and supports financing dilemma.

The Policy Office monitors a number of other areas of work in Washington, becoming more engaged as issues heat up. Examples include Veteran’s affairs, behavioral health, rural concerns, technology, tax policy and medical marijuana.

Each priority is spelled out in a handy interactive website. We look to members of LeadingAge and the people they serve to engage and take action – it takes a village to educate policy makers and push aggressively for change. We encourage members to visit the Action Center under Policy in the LeadingAge website. A few minutes of your time can go a long way in letting members of Congress and those in the Administration know how important older adults services are to families across the nation.

One of the best ways you can get engaged in educating policymakers about the 2020 Priorities is by attending Leadership Summit, April 20-22, including Lobby Day on April 22. It’s a chance for LeadingAge members to show up and have our voices heard on Capitol Hill.

Please check out the Policy Priorities and think about joining us for Lobby Day 2020.