AHCA/NCAL names new board leaders, Parkinson says providers' survival depends on quality improvement

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Leonard Russ will lead the American Health Care Association's Board of Governors as its new chairman, the organization has announced. The nation's largest long-term care provider association concluded its annual convention and expo yesterday. 

Russ is the principal partner of Bayberry Health in New Rochelle, NY, and co-owns Aaron Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation in Rochester, NY. With his background as a small operator — Bayberry and Aaron Manor together have about 220 beds — Russ represents a shift from Neil Pruitt Jr., his predecessor. Pruitt is chairman and CEO of PruittHealth, which is a large Georgia-based chain.

Russ has served on the board for seven years. Lane Bowen, executive vice president and president of Kindred Healthcare's nursing home division, will take Russ's spot as vice-chair, becoming next in line for the chairmanship.

Patricia Giorgio was elected board chairwoman of the National Center for Assisted Living. Giorgio is president and CEO of Evergreen Estates, a company of three assisted living communities in Iowa.

Russ, Giorgio and their respective boards face numerous challenges, and threats to reimbursement rates might be at the top of the list: AHCA President and CEO Mark Parkinson said reimbursement has been the biggest challenge he has faced during his tenure. He spoke on camera with McKnight's during the recent AHCA/NCAL convention in Phoenix.

Many lawmakers and policy analysts misunderstand the interplay of Medicare and Medicaid in the long-term care realm, and operators face constant threats to their margins, Parkinson noted. He said payment increasingly will be tied to quality outcomes, so improving quality is a matter of survival for long-term care operators.

“If they're not getting better at rehospitalizations, reducing antipsychotics, improving staff satisfaction ... they're not going to make it,” Parkinson said of long-term care providers. 

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