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Assisted Living Federation of America.


Founded in 1990, the Assisted Living Federation of America emerged from a desire shared among assisted living providers for industry-specific advocacy and support. The association's members have been united, since the beginning, by their commitment to ALFA's 10-Point Philosophy of Assisted Living:

* Offering cost-effective quality care that is personalized for individual needs.

* Fostering independence for each resident.

* Treating each resident with dignity and respect.

* Promoting the individuality of each resident.

* Allowing each resident choice of care and lifestyle.

* Protecting each resident's right to privacy.

* Nurturing the spirit of each resident.

* Involving family and friends, as appropriate, in care planning and implementation.

* Providing a safe, residential environment.

* Making the assisted living residence a valuable community asset.

Soon after its inception, ALFA recognized that many issues related to assisted living are driven at the state level. The national association swiftly launched its first state affiliates, setting a course to address the first of the three major priorities that would guide its work thereafter--building a strong federation, doing "the basics" well, and advocating a coherent and compelling philosophy of assisted living.

Recognizing the need to foster effective partnership with its state affiliates, ALFA empowered each affiliate to focus on local issues while relying on the national association to serve as a resource and set a national agenda. ALFA invited affiliate representatives to serve on key committees, launched the ALFA Affiliate Executive Committee, began providing regulatory and legislative guidance and technical assistance to affiliates, aided in initiating and developing grassroots efforts and started conducting ALFA representative meetings with key policymakers and congressional leaders.

At the same time, ALFA embraced a commitment to doing "the basics" well--offering members and affiliates with the high-quality resources, products and services that all associations strive to provide. Part of this work was internal, revolving around strengthening the association's financial position, instituting efficiencies based on the new federation structure and establishing improved reporting and accounting procedures.

ALFA better met the members' business needs by retooling flagship magazine Assisted Living Today and other communications vehicles to concentrate on important public policy updates and best-practice, bottom line-oriented information. Board and committee members were given enhanced visibility at affiliate and national events, and associate members were better served through increased staff attention and tailored opportunities for engagement.

More recently, ALFA ramped up conference quality and participation by retooling sessions to include CEO-level seminars, day-long focused tracks and dedicated EXPO hours.

Throughout, ALFA remained a vocal advocate for its philosophy, which hinges on a handful of key convictions: strong and effective state regulatory systems must be designed to foster accountability to the highest standards of care; regulatory systems for assisted living should balance respect for customer choice with safeguards to protect vulnerable residents; and that it is critical to recognize the characteristic that distinguishes assisted living from traditional long term care--its focus on consumer choice.

The assisted living industry, which has seen up and downs in its own brief history, is embarking on an era marked by restructuring, consolidation and continued growth. Industry leaders see it as a time of promise. "We expect to continue to see firms restore health to their operations and financial pictures, capital markets to begin to reinvest more aggressively into the sector, and further consolidation among providers," says ALFA Chairman Thomas H. Grape, chairman and CEO of Benchmark Assisted Living in Wellesley Hills, Mass.

As the assisted living industry has faced challenges and opportunities in recent decades, ALFA's evolution has mirrored those changes in many ways. The association embraces the future with a commitment to the same spirit of dynamic change, always ready to do whatever is necessary to meet the needs of members and affiliates.

ALFA is based in Fairfax, Va. and may be contacted at 703-691-8100 or
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Title Annotation:Histories of Associations
Publication:Contemporary Long Term Care
Date:Nov 1, 2003
Previous Article:American Health Care Association.
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