Gardant CEO Rod Burkett is joined by other long term care advocates who gathered for a Congressional briefing on Capitol Hill.Gardant CEO Rod Burkett joined more than 450 long term care advocates who gathered on Capitol Hill this week to discuss legislative priorities with members of Congress.

The discussions were part of an annual briefing organized by the American Health Care  Association and the National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL).

“Our members are on Capitol Hill to ensure that seniors and individuals with disabilities continue to have access to the quality care they deserve,” said AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson. “It is important for Congress to take into account the pragmatic policy proposals we offer as a profession committed to improving lives, delivering solutions and providing quality care.”

AHCA/NCAL members shared their professional experiences and discussed several topics of importance to long term and post-acute care providers, including:

  • significant strides in the quality of care provided in skilled nursing centers and assisted living communities;
  • opposition to cuts to Medicaid, the primary payer of long term services and support for older Americans and individuals with disabilities;
  • the skyrocketing use of civil monetary procedures with little to no oversight; and
  • necessary revisions to the SNF Requirement of Participation rule, which inappropriately prioritizes paperwork over patients.

Attendees also discussed and reviewed other significant issues, including access to home and community-based services, specific quality gains and Medicaid’s impact on local economies.

“There are skilled nursing centers and assisted living centers in every Congressional district. Our employees and our residents are constituents, and we are the health care policy voices that members of Congress need to hear from,” said AHCA Board Chair Tom Coble. “There are pressing issues before Congress and the Administration that affect millions of patients, residents and families, and we will advocate on their behalf as one unified voice.”

To bring home a key message for long term care providers—the importance of protecting Medicaid—the association released a video highlighting beneficiaries of the program. Husband and wife Chuck and Cathy Schwarz are assisted living residents of Gardant-managed Heritage Woods of South Elgin. Cathy suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and lives in the community’s secure memory care unit, and the Medicaid program allows the two to receive the assisted living care they need while still being able to see each other every day. Advocates are encouraged to show the video to their members of Congress to emphasize the impact cuts to Medicaid might have on the elderly population.

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