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American Health Care Association.

ahca[R] American Health Care Association

Since its inception in 1949, the American Health Care Association (AHCA) has been at the forefront of an ongoing, noble mission to ensure our frail, elderly and disabled receive the best possible quality care our nation has to offer.

AHCA and its National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) are leading the way on several important fronts to improve quality of care.

A catalyst for a new culture of health care delivery--one that puts the highest premium on quality--occurred in 2002 when AHCA stood with Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy Thompson in Washington as he announced the creation of the national Nursing Home Quality Initiative (NHQI).

AHCA/NCAL has also partnered with other long term care groups to spearhead our own profession-driven "Quality First" initiative--to go still further in the effort to instill accountability and performance excellence.

Workforce issues continue to have a major impact on the profession as they have for many years. There is an obvious and direct correlation between the quality of care in our nation's nursing facilities and the workforce level in place. Our research shows there are almost 100,000 vacant nursing positions in facilities nationwide.

While we continue to lobby on a variety of staffing issues, our most ambitious partnership to date is our new National Commission on the LongTerm CareWorkforce. In conjunction with The George Washington University, the Commission is composed of nursing, long term care, government, and education representatives. Its job is to identify the factors responsible for the workforce crisis, develop a model coalition structure state and local governments can use to counter the root causes of the staffing shortage, and to encourage careers in health care.

AHCA has many priority concerns, including inadequate inflation adjustments, unjust Medicare therapy caps that unfairly target patients in nursing facilities, a dysfunctional Medicaid program that underpays for care provided in nursing facilities, and a legal system requiring real federal and state tort reforms to help roll back exorbitant liability insurance rates that threaten patient access to quality care. It's critical to harness these issues to ensure predictable and stable funding sources so our profession can continue to focus on quality and performance excellence.

Internally, AHCA remains a highly motivated, member-guided association with superior elected leadership under guidance of our newly elected chair, Steve Chies, senior vice president of Benedictine Health Systems. He is our 30th elected chairman (formerly called president). Over the past decade the association has established a positive presence within the assisted living community through the efforts of the highly regarded NCAL, whose chair, Robert Van Dyk, president and CEO of Van Dyk Health Care, was recently elected.

By continuing to work together, we will keep momentum for reform and quality improvements moving forward for the benefit of every citizen, from every walk of life, who may one day depend upon us for their essential care needs. When that day comes, our members will be there for them.

Charles H. Roadman II is president and chief executive officer of AHCA. He may be reached at 202-842-4444.
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Title Annotation:Histories of Associations
Author:Roadman, Charles H., II
Publication:Contemporary Long Term Care
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2003
Previous Article:American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.
Next Article:Assisted Living Federation of America.

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