Touting the heroic dedication of nursing home workers, Congressman Richard Neal addressed Mass Senior Care members during the Association’s virtual Annual Meeting last week, noting that he plans to “work with his colleagues on Capitol Hill and the Biden administration to provide more financial support for the long term care sector so that facilities can secure the necessary PPE, staffing levels, and give their frontline staff higher wages.”
Tara Gregorio, President of Mass Senior Care Association, introduced Congressman Neal, who serves as Chairman of the Ways & Means Committee, as “A true friend of the long term care provider community who has been a strong advocate for us during the COVID-19 pandemic and has a long legislative history of fighting to preserve and protect Medicare and Social Security.” During her opening remarks, Gregorio also noted that "We are extremely proud of our nursing homes and their tireless frontline staff who have worked so very hard to lower the infection rates within their facilities. Their dedication and determination is admirable and we are forever grateful to them.” Gregorio then shared a video presentation produced by the Association, Celebrating Our Caregivers, please click here to view this inspirational video. Gregorio also thanked the Associate Members Pledge Partners, Sponsors and Exhibitors who have continued to support the Association during the pandemic, including CLA, Marcum, HealthPRO Heritage, Geriatric Medical, Partners Pharmacy and ProCare LTC.
In addition to Congressman Neal, Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL), spoke about efforts to support long term care facilities at the national level and voiced optimism about the future and vaccine availability. "Our residents and our employees will be at the very front of the line to receive these vaccines," Parkinson said. "It's quite possible that by the end of December our residents and staff will receive their first dose, and by end of February they could be fully immunized. We'll be able to say the safest place for older people to be is in our long term care facilities."
Speakers at the Annual Meeting also focused on the emotional and physical toll the pandemic has taken on long term care staff. Dr. Susan Wehry, MD, Chief of Geriatrics, University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, spoke about the different stages of a disaster, and understanding how the brain works and the accompanying emotions during those stages. "There's been a collective trauma of coming together and falling apart. It's affected us biologically, psychologically and socially. We have proven that we are remarkably resilient," said Dr. Wehry. "What's different this time is that we know so much more about this virus than we did in the beginning and we have to remember that because some of us are overwhelmed by the second surge. We do know how to mitigate the risk and contain the virus. We're built for this." Dr. Kimberly Miller, a public safety psychologist, also spoke about the effects of devastating events and the importance of self-care during these times, noting, “It's about believing in yourself and about changing your mindset. That will let you change your energy reserve."
Mass Senior Care’s Chair, Tom Lavallee, Chief Operating Officer of Alliance Health Management echoed Gregorio’s remarks, noting “I am extremely proud to work in long term care and of the 50,000 compassionate individuals who work in the Commonwealth’s nursing facilities. We have been courageous, resilient, tough, flexible and steadfast in our commitment to provide high quality care for our residents despite facing the many challenges that this pandemic has presented.” Lavallee recognized 25 member nursing facilities for their achievements in the 2020 AHCA/NCAL National Quality Awards program, please click here to view the complete list.
During the Business Meeting Kevin Morris, Association Treasurer and President of BaneCare Management, presented the 2021 Association Budget and Naomi Prendergast, Nominating Committee member and President and CEO of D’Youville Life and Wellness Community presented the Slate of Officers and Members at Large, both of which were 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.