LeadingAge’s policy approach begins with providers—thousands of people working at life plan communities, assisted living, memory care, nursing homes, adult day centers, PACE programs, home care and hospice agencies, and other settings on the front lines of care and services. We host LeadingAge Town Hall Conversations across the country, listening to members’ policy challenges and considering solutions together. These sessions, held virtually in 2020, were deeply colored by the battle aging services providers are waging with COVID. Our policy priorities emerge from those conversations.
Policy priorities guide LeadingAge advocacy on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, and in state capitols around the nation. They allow us to make quick decisions and take swift action on the issues that matter most across the continuum of aging services.
For 2021, the primary focus of our daily advocacy work, made all the more important and brought into sharp public focus by COVID, includes:
- Attaining the funding and systems necessary for robust COVID-19 relief for aging services across the continuum.
- Ensuring that a qualified, committed workforce is available to work in aging services.
- Achieving the right balance between regulation and autonomy in nursing homes and enabling them to be funded, staffed, and structured to provide person-centered, high quality post-acute and long-term services and supports (LTSS) to residents.
- Ensuring an adequate supply of housing for older individuals across the income spectrum and that needed support services are available in all housing settings.
- Assuring significant expansion of the supply, programs that reflect research for housing as a platform for health services and supports, and smart preservation of affordable senior housing.
- Supporting aging services providers so they can thrive in Medicare and Medicaid fee for service and managed care environments and deliver innovative, integrated care.
- Creating a well-developed, high-quality continuum of home and community-based services (HCBS) that complements informal caregiving for older individuals.
- Ensuring financing for older individuals who need long-term services and supports (LTSS).
- Realizing the full integration of hospice and palliative care services into the continuum of care with appropriate reimbursement and reasonable regulation.
Policy action is dynamic and full of disruption, a lesson reinforced by the pandemic in 2020. While our approach and engagement on certain issues may change—as needs emerge, conversations occur, bills are introduced, rules and guidance are proposed, and other events take place—LeadingAge’s values and priorities are constant.