Providers face uphill climb after 2016 election, experts say

Regardless of its outcome, the election offers providers an opportunity to impact lawmakers' agenda, Godes says
Regardless of its outcome, the election offers providers an opportunity to impact lawmakers' agenda, Godes says

Long-term care providers will have their work cut out for them following next week's election, LeadingAge officials shared on Tuesday.

In addition to the White House, Democrats are likely to reclaim the Senate while Republicans hold onto the House, predicted Niles Godes, senior vice president for Congressional affairs and housing with LeadingAge. 

Godes spoke as part of a panel discussion on the implications of the upcoming election for long-term care providers at LeadingAge's 2016 Annual Meeting & Convention in Indianapolis.

Aside from the “bizarre and acrimonious” presidential race, fresh legislators will be arriving in Washington next year and waiting to hear providers' concerns, Godes said.

“It matters because regardless of who controls what, there will be a sizable number of new members of Congress, many of whom have no knowledge of some of our issues,” Godes said. “Getting to know members of Congress early in their Congressional careers can pay big dividends. You can help them shape their agenda.”

That agenda should involve advocating for long-term care funding, and reforming the survey and certification process for nursing homes, said Barbara Gay, vice president of public policy communications for LeadingAge. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is working on major changes to the survey process due to hit late next year.

• Talk of the presidential race also came out in an unrelated session on contracting with accountable care organizations Tuesday. ACOs are a byproduct of the legislation commonly known as Obamacare. 

"It doesn't matter which candidate wins," said speaker John Durso, Esq., of Nixon Peabody LLP, who is also Knight's "Ask the Legal Expert" columnist. "One wants to repeal Obamacare but has no plan for it and the other wants to fix it. But that ship has sailed. Doctors and hospitals are already in ACO mode. They want to reduce per capita costs."

• Organizers pegged attendance at 6,500 for the convention, which ends Wednesday. The 2017 LeadingAge annual meeting and exhibition will take place in New Orleans, again at the end of October.