What Have We Done for You Lately? – April 2018

Our Story | April 25, 2018

During April 2018, LeadingAge launched a new series of town hall conversations with members around the country, positioned members to become hometown advocates, asked hard questions about how to pay for services, raised concerns about federal funding proposals, and developed timely resources addressing weapons policies, fair housing, workforce, ageism, and technology.

We’re Listening

LeadingAge listened carefully during April as members in Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Illinois told us how federal government policy affects their operations and the older adults they serve, and how policy could be changed for the better.

The conversations took place during the first in a series of town hall conversations that we’re holding around the country in partnership with our state affiliates.

Contact your state association to find out when a town hall conversation has been scheduled in your state. We hope you’ll join that conversation so LeadingAge state and national staff members can hear directly from you about public policy issues that concern you most. We’ll use your feedback to set policy priorities so we can better represent your interests, and the interests of older adults, in Washington, DC.

We’re Helping Members Raise their Voices

As LeadingAge incorporates your feedback into our advocacy agenda, we also need your help to drive home key advocacy messages during conversations with staff at congressional offices in your local district.

Don’t feel skilled enough to become a hometown advocate? Fortunately, as LeadingAge’s Joe Franco wrote this month in McKnight’s Long Term Care News, “Effective advocacy is a skill that can be learned, honed, and perfected.”

Joe provides some advocacy tips in his McKnight’s column. You’ll find additional tips in a webinar on “Building Relationships at Home” that LeadingAge released in April.

We’re Asking Hard Questions

If you’re a provider of affordable senior housing, you already know that connecting residents with health and supportive services is often the key to ensuring that those residents remain healthy and independent for longer.

But, as a housing provider, you’ve probably also asked yourself the perennial question: “How will we pay for services?” LeadingAge is asking that question too, and getting closer to finding an answer.

The LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston (formerly the LeadingAge Center for Applied Research) is conducting an important study to explore financing options for service programs in affordable senior housing communities.

The study, funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, took a major step forward in April when the LTSS Center brought together a variety of stakeholders—experts in health care policy, regulation, and financing; health provider entities; and managed care organizations—to review a set of potential financing mechanisms for housing plus services options. There’s more work to do on these options, but the LTSS Center has made a great start. We’ll keep you posted on our progress.

We’re Being Persistent on Policy Issues

We celebrated in March when Congress passed, and the President signed, an omnibus 2018 spending bill that provides some of the highest funding levels most housing programs have seen in years. During April, we sent a formal letter of thanks to President Trump for signing the appropriations bill, and we urged LeadingAge members to send similar thank-you messages to their legislators.

Then we got back to work on a variety of important funding issues that have us concerned:

Fighting rescission: We’re committed to heading off Administration efforts to develop a rescission measure that could withdraw billions of dollars included in the 2018 spending bill. We want to make sure that 2018 funding is retained, and that we are able to build on this progress in 2019.

Supporting SNAP: We’re ready to fight against possible changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps. A draft Farm Bill released this month calls for tightening the program’s eligibility and revamping its work requirements. LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan expressed LeadingAge’s concerns about proposals to make eligibility any more restrictive for a program that “provides a lifeline to working people, children, and older people.”

Opposing a Balanced Budget Amendment: We were pleased this month when the House of Representatives rejected H.J.Res. 2, a proposed amendment to the Constitution to require a balanced federal budget in every fiscal year. LeadingAge made its objections to the proposal very clear when Katie characterized the amendment as “bad economy and bad public policy” and committed LeadingAge to working with Congress and the Administration “on more realistic and economically sound measures to strengthen the nation’s economy."

We’re Developing Resources for You

Check out the range of resources that LeadingAge developed for members in April. The resources address a variety of important topics:

Weapons Policies: In the wake of recent mass shootings, LeadingAge has received many inquiries from member organizations regarding the ability of senior living communities to institute weapons policies on their campuses. Answers to these questions, and information about criteria that should be included in a weapons policy are provided in our new publication, Weapons Policies in Aging Services Organizations.

Fair Housing: On the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, LeadingAge published a collection of low-cost (or no-cost) suggestions to help you keep on top of fair housing issues.

Ageism: The third episode of our Aging Unmasked podcast explores ageism with Tracey Gendron, an associate professor of gerontology at Virginia Commonwealth University, and Roberta Jacobsen from Front Porch, a California-based LeadingAge member. You’ll also hear voicemails from people who have experienced ageism in their own lives.

Workforce: The latest episode of Workforce Innovators Podcast features interviews with Dan Kopf and Corinne Purtill from Quartz, a digital news outlet for business people in the new global economy.

Technology: The LeadingAge Center for Aging Services Technologies (CAST) released 3 new CAST Case Studies showing the power of engagement technologies, and 2 new FutureCAST videos featuring Gary Pederson from MatrixCare, and Peter Kress from Acts Retirement-Life Communities.