What Have We Done for You Lately? – August 2018

Our Story | August 29, 2018

LeadingAge spent a lot of time getting “up close and personal” during August 2018, as our team members in Washington, DC, and our members around the country, held face-to-face meetings with policy makers. As Labor Day approached, we also stepped up our efforts to develop tools and resources to help members prepare for an array of political and regulatory milestones coming this fall.

Hot Coffee and Warm Conversations

There’s no place like home for U.S. Senators and Representatives, especially this time of year. Senators may have worked in Washington this August, but Congressional Representatives were back in their districts for most of the month. Legislators in both houses of Congress will be home a lot more this September and October as they prepare for the mid-term elections.

With this in mind, LeadingAge launched its Coffee Chats with Congress campaign in August. The campaign is asking members like you to reach out personally to legislators while they’re back home. It’s a great time to sit down informally over coffee, get to know your representatives, and help them connect the dots on how decisions they make in Washington affect your community.

Start planning your coffee chat by downloading our comprehensive toolkit. Then, heat up the java and get ready to share your successes and challenges.

Reaching Out to Federal Partners

While LeadingAge members were reaching out personally to policy makers at home, LeadingAge was doing the same in Washington.

Positive meeting with HUD: On Aug. 23, we met with C. Lamar Seats, the new deputy assistant secretary for multifamily housing at U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). We’re glad we did. We received strong assurances of HUD goals to support senior housing programs and improve communication with providers.

Input on RAD for PRAC: We also helped HUD get ready to roll out guidance for RAD for PRAC, which will expand the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program so Section 202 Project Rental Assistance Contract (PRAC) communities can take on debt or leverage external financing to meet capital needs. We’re pleased that HUD is looking to LeadingAge for recommendations on the best way to implement its new RAD for PRAC authority. We’ll keep you posted on the anticipated September release of the RAD for PRAC guidance.

Policy Recommendation for CMS: We reached out to Seema Verma, head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), to urge CMS to correct problems with the new payroll-based journal (PBJ) system of reporting staffing levels in nursing homes. In a letter to Verma, and a statement from LeadingAge CEO Katie Smith Sloan, we explained that the new reporting system is showing lower levels of staffing in some nursing homes than is actually the case, misleading the public and resulting in serious consequences for the nursing home.

Research Bridging Policy and Practice

A big part of our work for LeadingAge members involves conducting research that can help to influence policy and improve practice in the field of aging services. During August, the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston was involved in the release of 3 important research-related publications that you should know about.

Housing Plus Services Evidence: The journal Cityscape featured an article describing research conducted by the LTSS Center and RTI International showing that Support and Services and Home (SASH), a statewide housing plus services program in Vermont, slowed growth in total Medicare expenditures for some of its participants. The SASH evaluation represents an important milestone in efforts to promote affordable senior housing as a platform for the delivery of supportive services to older adults with low incomes.

The Foreign-born Workforce: Together with the Global Ageing Network, the LTSS Center released 3 new reports exploring the benefits and challenges associated with an expanding foreign-born workforce in the field of long-term services and supports (LTSS) around the globe.

Aging Policy in the Trump Era: LTSS Center Co-Directors Robyn Stone and Marc Cohen wrote articles about LTSS financing and housing plus services models for a special issue of the Journal of Aging and Social Policy. The issue is dedicated to exploring what the Trump Administration and the Republican Congress mean for older Americans.

Resources to Help LeadingAge Members

It’s difficult to list all the resources that LeadingAge developed during August for members. But here a sampling:

Disaster Resources: LeadingAge added to its user-friendly Disaster Resources toolkit to help members prepare for and respond when disaster strikes.

Calculators: We’ve updated the Medicare Part A Skilled Nursing Facility Prospective Payment System calculator, and the Medicare Part B therapy rate calculator to help members assess and estimate the impact of final payment changes for FY 2019.

FAQ on Marijuana: Our latest set of frequently asked questions is designed to help members navigating the varying restrictions and requirements of federal and state laws governing medical marijuana.

Fact Sheet on Smoke-Free Housing: Our new fact sheet on Establishing a Smoke Free Housing Environment will guide HUD and other residential or assisted living communities that want to restrict smoking.

Guidance on Anti-Discrimination Statutes: Here’s what members need to know about the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Technology Tools: LeadingAge CAST has updated its Functional Assessment and Activity Monitoring Technology Selection Tool. This tool is one of six resources that will help you choose the best technology for your organization.

Workforce Podcast: Download the latest episodes of our Workforce Innovators podcast to learn more about Student Program at PEAK 2018.

Our 1-Year Milestone

August marks the 1-year anniversary of our monthly What Have We Done For You Lately? column. Celebrate with us by reviewing all the great things LeadingAge has done for you in the past year.