Former AHCA/NCAL leader Willging dies

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Paul Willging
Paul Willging

Paul Willging, Ph.D., the former long-time president and CEO of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living and CEO, died Saturday at age 69. He had cancer.

Willging led AHCA/NCAL for 16 years in the 1980s and 1990s. He once told McKnight's he felt that making AHCA stronger at the state level — where some feel the organization's clout really lies — was an accomplishment he was most proud of.  He also was a past president and CEO of the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA).

Additionally, he was the deputy administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration (now the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services). Prior to his advocacy and CMS posts, Willging worked at Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Greater New York and was chairman of Howard County General Hospital, as well as chairman of the Howard County Commission on Aging. Most recently, he was a senior associate at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health and associate director of the University's Center on Aging and Health.

“Paul was a resounding voice for long term care, paving the way for the future of the profession while spearheading a focus on quality care for our nation's seniors,” said Gov. Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL.

Willging's awards included the Vesta Bowden Award for Outstanding Service to the Long Term Care Industry in 2000. A devotee of German studies, Willging also achieved a 1963-1964 Fulbright Scholarship at the Free University in Berlin. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.
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