PublIC PolICy BRIEF
Making great Legislative Strides
By MariBeth BerSani
Hill to state
pay off for
The past few months have seen a flurry of advocacy activities on the part of ALFA and its members at the state and national
levels. From its biggest-ever advocacy event in
Washington, DC, to supporting regulatory and
legislative efforts at the state level, ALFA and its
affiliates have been proving their ability to move
policy on behalf of the nation’s seniors.
ALFA members made their mark earlier this
year, convening in the nation’s capital for the
largest single advocacy fly-in event ever held
by the Assisted Living Federation of America.
More than 120 ALFA members and senior living advocates from all over the country took to
Capitol Hill to draw lawmakers’ attention to the
needs of seniors.
ginger Landy from the NY-ALFA chapter
participated in the fly-in event. “We were able
to really get a feel for lawmakers’ knowledge
of assisted living on a personal level, whether
they had a loved one in assisted living or had
visited a community. That personal relationship brings a lot to any effort or issue down the
road,” Landy says.
Participants raised awareness of senior living as a valuable long-term care option for seniors in more than 470 one-on-one meetings at
150 offices of senators, House members, and
key committee staffers. The turnout was more
than twice the size of last year’s fly-in.
Senior living executives participated in the
event not only to talk about their key issues, but
also to make legislators aware of the resources
they could share. “We wanted to leave them
with the understanding that we are a resource
for them,” adds Landy. “They should know that
congressional staff and offices have NY-ALFA
to come to whenever there is a question or a
concern that comes up that could affect our
New York members.”
During his first 100 days as executive director
of PALA, the Pennsylvania Assisted Living As-
sociation, Mark Miller has proved to be an advocacy dynamo.
“The biggest thing we have done is to reach
out to the regulatory community here in Pennsylvania and let them know what we can do
for them,” Miller explains. He has worked on
multiple levels to forge partnerships with those
who govern the industry at the state level, introducing them to assisted living and helping
them to understand its place in the community.
“Assisted living actually has its own unique
philosophy, its own feel, and we want them to
understand what that is about,” Miller says.
As a former director of regulatory affairs and
a previous executive director in many senior
living communities, Miller can speak firsthand
about the challenges and needs facing seniors
and providers. He brings that background to the
table, along with the personal stories of seniors
from throughout Pennsylvania’s assisted living
communities, “so regulators can understand
that the decisions they are making in regard to
regulatory policy have real-world implications.”
Miller says PALA will tackle a range of issues
in the coming months, including community
licensure, updated assisted living regulations
from the Department of Aging, and new rules
regarding the licensing of professional personnel. By building bridges now, Miller is positioning PALA to advocate effectively on behalf of
these and an array of other senior living issues.
Georgia-ALFA has a major issue on its plate,
and it’s been making significant headway on
behalf of seniors and care providers.
A proposed piece of legislation (Georgia
HB850) would create a new licensure category,
“assisted living communities,” which would allow frail seniors access to services either provided by the community or by licensed professionals, to enable them to appropriately age in
genia Ryan, Georgia-ALFA president/CEO,
says the new category would make room for
a level of service that in some cases would be