New Voluntary Standards in Assisted Living?

Regulation | January 07, 2020 | by Cory Kallheim

There has been a lot written in the press recently about Argentum's effort to lead the development of voluntary industry standards in senior living and we wanted to update members where we stand.

There has been a lot written in the press recently about Argentum’s effort to lead the development of industry standards in senior living and we wanted to update members where we stand.

In April 2019, Argentum applied to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for designation as an Accredited Standards Developer (ASD) to pursue voluntary standards in senior living. LeadingAge, as well as other organizations, including American Senior Housing Association (ASHA), the Center for Excellence in Assisted Living (CEAL), and the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL), objected to the application. Despite the objections of the various groups, ANSI approved Argentum’s application in September 2019. LeadingAge and other organizations filed appeals requesting ANSI to reconsider its decision. LeadingAge’s opposition, which is shared by others, is focused on concerns regarding due process, dominance and openness, as well as lack of balance in the Argentum proposed standards development process. A hearing on all the appeals filed is scheduled next month.

Although objecting to Argentum’s application to ANSI and their particular process to lead the development of industry-led voluntary standards, LeadingAge supports efforts to improve quality. Moreover, LeadingAge is not opposed to voluntary standards for assisted living and memory care, provided that any such standards are developed with full stakeholder engagement and in a transparent manner.

Developing care standards in the health care and senior care settings is a serious and arduous undertaking and must include all stakeholders, from provider groups and consumers to researchers, clinicians, and policymakers, at the outset. The ANSI process Argentum is pursuing is not a consensus-based approach and based on our significant experience in other areas of standards creation in aging services, we know that standards that are not fully consensus-driven will be met with skepticism from providers, as well as consumers, legislators, and regulators.

We look forward to working with a diverse and comprehensive group of stakeholders to forge a fresh approach to addressing quality in assisted living and memory care. At a time when 10,000 people turn 65 each day, aging services providers must demonstrate leadership through smart collaboration that yields results for those we love and care for. LeadingAge supports the latter and an initiative undertaken in that spirit. We will keep you posted on our efforts and value your input on how to best achieve this goal.