At Mass Senior Care’s Annual Meeting held November 16th in Worcester, MA, a standing room only crowd listened to MSCA President Tara Gregorio and Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) Secretary Kate Walsh discuss key issues impacting nursing facilities, including the opportunity to hire work ready migrants living in the state’s emergency shelter system. “We urge members to get involved in this important humanitarian effort, and contact MSCA if you have open positions, particularly in housekeeping, laundry, and maintenance as this may be a good entry point while employers continue to evaluate individual skills and career goals,” said Gregorio. Secretary Walsh commented that, “Solving the workforce challenges across the health care continuum is of utmost importance to EOHHS and the Healey administration.”
During their Fireside Chat, Secretary Walsh noted that “the services skilled nursing facilities provide are just so important to our time,” and acknowledged the remarkable job nursing facilities have done especially during the most trying of times. “I am impressed with the dedication of this sector and recognize just how important the partnership is between state health officials and the leadership of the Association and its member nursing facilities.”
In her remarks, Tara Gregorio thanked Secretary Walsh for participating in the Annual Meeting, noting that she is the first EOHHS Secretary to speak at this event. “We are fortunate to have a visionary leader at the helm of EOHHS who is willing to work with the provider community to create solutions to address our workforce and access issues.” Both Gregorio and Walsh agreed that it’s not a matter of “if” demand for nursing facility services will overtake supply but “when,” given that the median statewide occupancy in nursing facilities today is 93%. In addition to upskilling the entry level workforce, investing in management and supervisory training and collaborating on hospital through-put issues, Gregorio and Walsh also discussed issues related to Medicaid and Innovation with Secretary Walsh challenging the sector “to address the state’s budgetary constraints head-on by assessing their current operations and leaning into innovation and technology.”
Mass Senior Care’s Chair of the Board of Directors, Tom Lavallee, Chief Operating Officer of Alliance Health Management, noted, “Earlier this morning, at our Foundation Fundraising Breakfast, we honored a pillar of the long term care community, Frank Romano, President of The Essex Group. For more than 40 years, Frank and his family have provided essential services to elderly and disabled individuals, including skilled nursing, assisted living, adult day health, home care and senior transportation. Frank’s commitment and decades of service is unparalleled and serves as a goal for current and future leaders in our sector. We recognize that strong leadership is critical, and in collaboration with the Mass Senior Care Foundation, we are committed to supporting our current leaders and growing the next generation of leaders through education, resources and advocacy.”
Lavallee also thanked the Associate Members who generously sponsored the Annual Meeting, including CLA, Marcum, and ProCare LTC Pharmacy. Please click here to view a complete listing of Annual Meeting Sponsors.
Gregorio recognized 10 member nursing facilities for their achievements in the 2023 AHCA/NCAL National Quality Awards program, including:
Silver - Achievement in Quality Award
- Alliance Health at Baldwinville
- Alliance Health at Braintree
- Alliance Health at Marie Esther
- Alliance Health at Marina Bay
- Alliance Health at West Acres
- Hathorne Hill
Bronze – Commitment to Quality Award
- Agawam South Rehab and Nursing
- Hunt Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
- Vantage Health and Rehab of Westfield
- Williamstown Commons Nursing & Rehab Center
The recognition ceremony continued with Bill Bogdanovich, Chair of the Massachusetts Senior Foundation and President and CEO of Broad Reach Healthcare, honoring the 2023 Foundation Scholars. “This year we are pleased to share that we will have raised over $150,000 and we very much appreciate the ongoing support of our members and vendors and in particular, our Premier Sponsor, CLA, who lend their financial support to help us achieve the Foundation’s mission, including our Flagship Scholarship Program.”
This year, the Foundation recognized 25 long term care employees, each of whom received a $2,000 award, and who were selected by an external panel of judges. In addition to the US, the scholars hail from China, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Haiti, Kenya, the Philippines, UAE, and Zimbabwe.
Jacqueline Akinyi, Nurse Manager at Alliance Health at Rosewood in Peabody, received a scholarship and was also recognized as the recipient of the Peggi Leoni Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship was established in honor of Margaret “Peggi” Leoni, who was a cherished Mass Senior Care colleague who died unexpectedly in 2018. This memorial award honors Peggi’s passion, knowledge and commitment to quality nursing home care and the Foundation was proud to present this year’s award to Jackie Akinyi.
During the Business Meeting, Kevin Morris, Association Treasurer and President & CEO of BaneCare Management, presented the 2024 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 & CEO, 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, 2024, include:
Phil Arcidi, Whittier Health Network
Peter Gordon, Gordon Healthcare Management Group
William Graves, South Cove Manor at Quincy Point
Zofia Long, Life Care Centers of America
Robert Oriol, Oriol Health Care
Christine Reilly, The Boston Home
Frank Romano, Essex Group Management
The afternoon session, moderated by Helen Magliozzi, MSCA Director of Regulatory Affairs, included presentations by Stephen Davis, Division Director and Michelle Butler, Deputy Director of the DPH Division of Health Care Facility Licensure & Certification, followed by a Q&A session with attendees.