At last week’s MSCA 2022 Annual Meeting & Trade Show, Governor Charlie Baker told attendees that the pandemic has challenged the long-term caregiving community in ways that go way beyond what others faced. The population in nursing homes, combined with the incredible contagiousness of the Covid-19 virus put nursing homes in a tenuous position and they performed “exceptionally well given the circumstances.”
“Starting from an incredibly challenging position, the Commonwealth overall outperformed 49 other states in handling the Pandemic. Your flexibility, creativity, perseverance, discipline, and sheer will was on full display every single day for months and months at a time,” the Governor told nursing home staff. “What I want you to know is that you did a really great job. I’m sure you don’t hear that enough. But you DID. I can say that with experience and knowledge from many different data points and from conversations with many people across the country.”
Tara Gregorio, President of the Massachusetts Senior Care Association thanked Governor Baker and lawmakers for their ongoing support on behalf of the individuals who live and work in the Commonwealth’s nursing facilities citing the recent $165 million investment in nursing home staff.
In her remarks, Gregorio noted that, “Nursing facilities provide an invaluable service to consumers and families across the Commonwealth. The work you do every day is vital and the demands on your services will grow significantly over the next few years and we must be ready to meet this need.” Demand for nursing facility care is expected to grow sharply over the next 10 years due to a 20% rise in the 85+ population and the increased use of nursing facility care by younger patients requiring behavioral health services. Massachusetts nursing facilities are currently at 84% occupancy and our projections showing 94% in 2023 as our census continues to recover. “The truth is and always has been that nursing facility care is a valued and necessary service for those who can no longer be cared for safely at home,” noted Gregorio. “It is up to us to continue to collaborate on solutions for our financial and workforce crises in order to ensure that we have a strong, vibrant, high quality nursing facility community to meet the current and future needs of our residents and their families.”
Mass Senior Care’s Chair of the Board of Directors, Tom Lavallee, Chief Operating Officer of Alliance Health Management, noted, “Our work is a calling, to minister to the needs of some of our Commonwealth’s most frail citizens. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough of us. We are faced with a 22% vacancy rate for RNs, LPNs and CNAs. We need more resources, both human and financial, if we are to deliver on our duty to provide the highest quality of care possible.” Lavallee noted that the Association’s advocacy efforts this year have resulted in over $400 million in new funding from a variety of key programs. “As we begin to emerge into a COVID-19 recovery stage and build back census, the Association’s tireless advocacy on our behalf will be critically important, particularly as we transition to a new administration.”
Lavallee also thanked the Associate Members who generously sponsored the Annual Meeting, including CLA, Marcum, ProCare LTC Pharmacy and Incite Strategic Partners, please click here to view a complete listing of Annual Meeting Sponsors.
Lavallee recognized three member nursing facilities for their achievements in the 2022 AHCA/NCAL National Quality Awards program, including:
Silver - Achievement in Quality Award
- Palm Center, Chelmsford
Bronze – Commitment to Quality Award
- Life Care Center of the South Shore, Scituate
- St. Mary Health Care Center, Worcester
During the Business Meeting Kevin Morris, Association Treasurer and President of BaneCare Management, presented the 2023 Association Budget and Tara Gregorio presented the Slate of Officers and Members-at-Large, both of which were unanimously approved. Tom Lavallee was re-elected Chair of the Association along with Vice-Chair Adam Berman, President, Legacy Lifecare, Treasurer Kevin Morris, President, BaneCare Management and Clerk Christopher Hannon, Chief Operating Officer at Pointe Group Care.
Board Members-at-Large elected to a three-term beginning January 1, 2023, include:
Lisa Burgess, Senior Vice President, Finance, CareOne Management
William Jones, President and CEO, Integritus Healthcare
Sr. Jacquelyn McCarthy, CEO/Administrator, Bethany Health Care Center
Steven Raso, Principal, Landmark Management Solutions
Lawrence Santilli, President and CEO, Athena Health Care Systems
Gilbert Thisse, Director of Operations, Rehabilitation Associates, Inc.
Steven Tyer, Administrator, Copley at Stoughton
In addition, the Annual Meeting featured two speakers addressing caregiver job stress and recruiting and retaining frontline staff. Alexandra Drane, Co-Founder and CEO, ARCHANGELS—a platform designed to identity stress for unpaid caregivers--- presented The Caregiver Intensity Index— which measures and scores stress levels in careers with high intensity. Drane’s data validated the stressful reality many caregivers in Massachusetts and across the country face, and she provided strategies to combat it.
During her introduction of the afternoon program, Susan Misiorski, Vice President of Workforce Development at Mass Senior Care Association, noted, “There’s a tremendous amount of talent and leadership in this room today and of course you’ve known the “rules of the workforce game. But, some of the rules of the game are changing—rapidly actually-- and I’m going to talk a bit about that—and how this is guiding us to be sure workers today see and choose senior living as great career choice.” Denise Boudreau, President of Drive, a culture consultancy firm that optimizes recruitment and retention, presented Tired to Inspired. “The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially challenging for long term care leaders as they grapple with an historic workforce crisis. Helping these leaders to reinvigorate the passion that led them to the aging services profession will enable them to inspire their teams and optimize their recruitment and retention strategies.”