PublIC PolICy BRIEF
AdvOcAcy dAy RecAP
2011 ALFA Fly-In Makes Strides
By MariBeth Bersani
A record 160
spoke out for
at ALFA’s 2011
When 160 senior living advocates took to Capitol Hill for their annual day of lob- bying February 16, they saw many familiar faces and many new ones in a Congress
that has undergone dramatic changes since last
year’s ALFA Fly-In.
As they met with key figures on the Hill,
touching base with two thirds of the members
in the House and Senate, they were greeted not
as strangers, but as friends.
Many lawmakers’ aides were already familiar with senior living’s, especially assisted living’s, issues from last year’s Fly-In. They went
well beyond the usual 15-minute handshake
session, talking with advocates at length about
the topics affecting seniors today, exploring the
depths of the industry’s issues and concerns.
That’s a big win. ALFA has been working
steadily to build relationships with lawmakers,
to become a trusted voice in matters pertaining
to senior living. This year’s Fly-In showed that
those efforts are having an impact across party
issues of note
When it came to specific issues, the advocates
weighed in vigorously regarding the National
Silver Alert Act. Much like Amber Alerts, which
spread the word quickly in cases of missing
children, Silver Alerts would tell emergency responders that a senior may be wandering.
The Act comes with a $100 million price tag
over 10 years: ALFA supports it, and Fly-In participants helped to make the case.
Regulatory issues also played a central role
in discussions with congressional staffers.
With 100 new members on the Hill, it was especially important to lay out certain crucial definitions and to help key players understand that
unlike nursing homes, which are governed at
the federal level, senior living is regulated by
the states. ALFA would like it to stay that way.
To make that case, advocates talked about
numbers, laying out the cost of senior living
versus nursing homes, pointing out the jobs
created by ALFA members, and charting the
numbers of seniors served. To drive it all home,
advocates came armed with breakdowns of senior living activity in each lawmaker’s home
Then they got down to the nitty-gritty, looking at specific legislation of concern to the
industry. In the big Health Care Reform Act,
ALFA has been working
steadily to build
lawmakers, to become a
trusted voice in matters
pertaining to senior
for example, there is language requiring a provider to issue a 1099 tax form for all purchases
of goods and services over $600. That’s a big
paperwork burden, and the cost of the extra
accounting likely will fall to seniors. ALFA
wants the requirement repealed, and legislators
Another hot topic of discussion was the National Labor Relations Board, which has been
uncomfortably active lately. Increasingly, the
board has seemed to be circumventing congressional authority, setting policy and making
rules rather than enforcing the will of Congress.
It’s not a matter of this or that particular rule,
but rather an overall concern that the board is
overstepping its authority. Right now the board
is pushing to undo a lot of policy enacted by the
last administration. Either way, these are tasks
that rightly belong to Congress, and advocates
laid out their concerns.