Sunday, January 08, 2012

2012 Legislative Session

      The team at Arizona ALFA is committing to communicating more frequently with our members in 2012.  You can also follow Arizona ALFA on Facebook/ArizonaALFA, twitter and our YouTube channel ArizonaALFA.

     The 2012 Arizona legislative session is set to begin in a few weeks.  I am sure there will be much to blog and report to our members during the next few months.  Stay tune . . . .

Friday, August 19, 2011

From the Desk of: Karen Barno, President/CEO, Arizona ALFA

I find it hard to believe that summer is coming to an end. Does it not seem like yesterday we were at our annual conference? Now we are preparing for our Fall Conference that this year will be a “Legal Symposium” and is at the Black Canyon Leadership conference. The Educational Events committee believed that as assisted living attracts attention with the federal government and state elected officials it was time to discuss the legal issues that arise in assisted living.

Federal Issues:

The NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) is causing many challenges for the business community. Since the Employer Free choice Act was defeated the unions have tried to work through the NLRB. The NLRB is a regulatory board that has “decided” to make public policy decisions that Congress should be appropriately making or worse, establishing public policy that is counter to the direction and wishes of Congress. It should be Congress who determine public policy in regards to workers right to a federally supervised secret ballot election when determine If they wish to be represented by a union. ALFA will continue to monitor this for its members.

Congress has also filed a bill to establish a co-pay for Home Health services. However this co-pay can be viewed as nothing more than a sick tax, falling heaviest upon the sickest, poorest and most vulnerable members of our society.

To gather additional information on these federal bills ALFA has their public policy papers posted to their website, Arizona ALFA is an affiliate of ALFA and works closely with them on Federal and State issues.

State Issues:

The Public policy committee is reviewing the 2012 Legislative agenda. The major focus areas will encompass ALTCS reductions, Elder Abuse legislation from the Attorney Generals taskforce and the rules for Caregiver Training.

The ALTCS’s committee, chaired by Karla Averill, is closely monitoring the reductions in ALTC Provider rates and exploring ways to minimize both the amount and impact of these reductions. We have also working closely with a consultant and our lobbyist to develop a plan to demonstrate to the legislature that assisted living is a less expensive, more value driven product than other long term care options.

I have been honored to be a member of the Attorney Generals Taskforce on Elder Abuse. This committee is studying many issues surrounding Elder Abuse and do plan to put legislation forward and I will let you know about the proposed legislation.

The Governors Office on Aging has also formed a Taskforce on Alzheimer’s that we are also a member and will report to our members the outcomes from that committee as well.

The fate of Medical Marijuana has yet to be determined, stand by for further information and we will continue to monitor the situation.

Finally Arizona ALFA is your association, if you have any questions or comments please call me. If there is a program, product or services you would like us to offer let me know so we can continue to serve you!

Karen Barno, President/CEO

Monday, March 21, 2011

Customer service counts

     Over the weekend I stopped at a large evening event and the parking lot was jam packed.  I saw a parking spot and as I waited for the car to back out a large truck cut swooped around me and parked in the spot.   The hotel shuttle driver witness what had happened and pulled his cart up next to my car and signaled to follow him.  He took me to the front of the parking lot and showed me a space marked - Hotel Employee of the Month.  He explained to me the employee of the month was on vacation and he was sure she would not mind me parking in her space.
     With that said he drove off . . .I am sure the hotel will never know what their shuttle drive had done.  However when I arrived at work today I asked our conference planner to call the hotel to have them send  information to have our conference at their hotel.  That one nice sweet gesture will net the hotel over $150,000 in conference revenue.
     That is why customer service matters - you never know who you are helping or who is watching!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Leadership Tips for women

Frances Hesselbein has long been considered a leader in the not for profit sector.  Her latest book provider excellent tips on leadership and how leaders must "carry a large bucket."   The book reviews her tenure at the Girl Scouts and the various challenges and opportunities that arose during her time.  This book is a must read.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Assisted Living Providers and ALTCS

     During a recent visit with a Senator I was asked the question, “Why don’t more assisted living providers accept ALTC residents?”.  I explained that although providers do accept ALTCS it is not as prevalent in AL as it is in Nursing Homes.  I offered that with the recent provider rate cuts it is proving more challenging for AL Providers to continue to accept ALTCS.  Providers currently accept a much lower rate for the services they provide, and additional rate reductions continue to remain a possibility. This discourages providers from continuing to accept ALTCS.

    The continued cuts to ALTCS rates in AL will end up costing the state money, not saving them money.  I know this sounds counter intuitive, however for every resident that does not move into Assisted Living, one does move into a Nursing Home.  Nursing Homes receive a rate of $100 -$150 per resident day versus the $60 - $90 for assisted living.  The argument for not reducing nursing home rates and pushing seniors to live in nursing homes is this: the state receives a match of $3 dollars for every $1 the state spends.  However, the state has received the same FMAP for assisted living. 

     In the end, the State of Arizona pays a higher rate to be in a nursing home. . . . . . .  so people have to ask themselves . . . . . .where is the savings?

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Senseless shooting

The state of Arizona should be "showing off" for the tourist in state for the BCS game. Instead the state is coming to terms with an assassination attempt. What is wrong with people, this country is founded on agreeing to sometimes disagree and to compromise. Stop looking at what is broke and start looking for ways we can work together and fix it!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Medical Marijuana in Assisted Living

     The proposed rules developed by Arizona Department of Health Services for Medical Marijuana (MM) have been posted to DHS’s website for public comment.  These rules have an emergency exemption so there is an accelerated timetable in the development of the rules. 

In the Proposition, Assisted Living and Nursing Homes had a clause that permits Assisted Living Centers and Homes to set their own policies about MM.   Each center and home will most likely have a set of policies on what MM will be acceptable.

     This clause places a large emphasis on the policy that is developed and followed by the provider.  This policy will provide a guideline for managing the use of medical marijuana throughout their properties.  Conversely, when DHS surveys the community DHS will review the written policy to ensure that the community is adhering to their policy. DHS will post “example” policies after the rules are completed which will most likely be in April or May 2011. 

     We will be working closely with DHS to develop these sample policies and will post them to our website as soon as they become available. 

     As there are many issues to look at in regards to medical marijuana in senior housing, Arizona ALFA will hold discussions over the next few months with our members.