After observing a moment of silence in honor of fallen firefighter Lt. Jason Menard, Mass Senior Care Association President Tara Gregorio opened the 70th Annual Meeting of the Association. Gregorio thanked all attendees for making the time to attend the Annual Meeting, noting that, “At last year’s Annual Meeting, I told attendees that our success and future depends on a united and engaged membership that is singularly and laser focused on ensuring that we have the funding needed to provide quality care for our residents and a quality job for our dedicated staff. This year, thanks to the efforts of our membership who joined us in our Answering the Call to Care Campaign – whether it was at State House Advocacy Day, a legislative breakfast, meeting, hearing, call, email, letter or an OpEd, I am proud to report that together we achieved a $66 million increase for nursing home care. This is more than just a funding increase. This is a deliberate statement from the Legislature that chooses to value this vital service and begin to meaningfully address this sector’s financial and workforce crisis.”
The morning presentations were delivered by LaShuan Bethea, Vice President of Legislative Affairs at Genesis HealthCare and Michael Slavik, Chief Practice Officer, Northeast, CLA. Bethea provided an update on activities on Capitol Hill and the impact they have on residents and caregivers in Massachusetts. Slavik presented on the State of Nursing Facilities in Massachusetts which detailed the influencers impacting the nursing facility sector in Massachusetts, including inadequate state funding. CLA’s analysis concludes that 25% of the sector are at risk of closing if the state does not address this financial crisis. "The CLA report clearly shows the situation is dire and the causes are clear,” stated Tara Gregorio. “In order to protect this state safety net service, we need to continue to build upon recent state investments in quality nursing home care and promote quality jobs in our nursing facilities."
Mass Senior Care’s Chair, Matt Salmon, Chief Executive Officer of SALMON Health and Retirement echoed Gregorio’s remarks, noting that grassroots advocacy and membership engagement will continue to be at the forefront of the Association’s efforts in 2020. Salmon and Gregorio honored 32 members with Certificates of Recognition for their achievements in the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Awards program.
Gregorio concluded the meeting by opening the Annual Business Meeting at which Tom Lavallee, Association Treasurer and Chief Operating Officer of Alliance Health Management Services presented the 2020 Association Budget, Naomi Prendergast, Bylaw Committee Chair and President and CEO of D’Youville Life and Wellness Community presented the proposed revisions to the Bylaws and Bill Bogdanovich, Chair of the Nominating Committee presented the Slate of Officers and Members at Large, all of which were approved. Tom Lavallee was elected Chair of the Association and presented outgoing Chair Matt Salmon with an award on behalf of the Board of Directors, recognizing Matt’s outstanding leadership and dedication to the long term care provider community during his two-year tenure as Chair. Other officers elected at the meeting include Vice-Chair Adam Berman, President, Legacy Lifecare, Treasurer Kevin Morris, Vice President, Operations at BaneCare Management and Clerk Christopher Hannon, Chief Operating Officer at Pointe Group Care.
Following the sold-out Trade Show featuring over 100 Associate Members, attendees reconvened for the afternoon education session featuring Secretary Rosalin Acosta, Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development; Emily Dieppa, Workforce Consultant, PHI and Susan Misiorski, Regional Director of Operations, New England for SageLife. All three speakers addressed the workforce challenges impacting the nursing facility sector and offered both public-private partnerships and innovative recruitment and retention strategies to help stabilize the long term care workforce.