Guest Columns

High stakes and rewards at ACHCA Convocation

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Mary Helen McSweeney-Feld
Mary Helen McSweeney-Feld

The American College of Health Care Administrators wraps up its annual convocation in Las Vegas today. The meeting theme of “High Stakes: Leadership Excellence” has brought together long-term care administrators, educators, consultants and other individuals seeking solutions and training for the myriad of leadership, management and regulatory challenges facing the long-term care community today and in the near future. Some of the themes of the meeting include:

  • Leadership excellence — how do we define it, how do we provide it in models of care across a variety of long-term care services, and the five qualities of Passion, Competency, Communication, Flexibility and Ownership outlined by keynote speaker Harry Paul.
  • Mentoring programs for new long-term care administrators — how the long-term care field can attract and retain new administrators despite regulatory challenges,  and how ACHCA's national mentoring program for new administrators can address these issues.
  • Risk management and hospital readmissions — what are some programs, tools and strategies for reducing hospital readmissions from nursing homes and improving risk management and resident safety, as well as QAPI programs.
  • Culture change in long-term care — what is it, how to implement it and case studies of effective implementation.
  • Effective compliance programs — from OIG initiatives, Medicare audits, the impact of the Jimmo ruling on therapy services and injury prevention programs, to an overview of PEPPER reports for skilled nursing facilities, targeted initiatives can help resident outcomes.

What is most inspirational about this annual event is seeing the awards for leaders of facilities across the United States for excellence in leadership along with recognition of seasoned and new administrators in the field, and hearing the reasons why they choose to be a long-term care administrator. Comments range from wanting to be part of the “noble profession” to wanting to make an impact in the lives of others and their families. Long-term care administration students from across the United States also have an important role in the events with a special poster session for presentation of their research, and an introduction to national mentoring program activities.

While long-term care administrators certainly have their challenges ahead of them in the near future, it is rewarding to see that new entrants to the field are interested in management opportunities and experienced administrators are willing to share their knowledge and strategies for success. The high stakes are apparent, but some solutions and tools have been provided by the College at this event for promoting leadership excellence.

Mary Helen McSweeney-Feld, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Health Care Management Program, College of Health Professions, at Towson University in Towson, Maryland. She is a member of the American College of Health Care Administrators' Academy of Long-Term Care Leadership and Development, and a member of the National Association of Long-Term Care Administrator Boards' Education Committee.

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