AHCA members zero in on quality on Capitol Hill

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AHCA President and CEO Mark Parkinson
AHCA President and CEO Mark Parkinson

Providers will focus on promoting solutions to the “doc fix,” bad debt and the observation stay loophole during visits with their Congressional representatives Tuesday. And they shouldn't forget the power of offering solutions to lawmakers who are constantly contending with gridlock, the head of the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living said at the group's spring "fly-in" gathering.

“Our message is we offer a solution in a town of dysfunction,” AHCA President and CEO Mark Parkinson said Monday. “We offer a solution not just at the bedside but at a policy level. … We save the government money.”

This mixture of more efficient and higher quality care has been achieved through focused initiatives. Quality improvements among member facilities reflect higher standards in long-term care services, said AHCA Board Chairman Neil L. Pruitt Jr.

“The quality initiative is in no way a public relations move, but one that has its roots and desire in real change,” Pruitt said.

AHCA members have reduced their use of off-label use of antipsychotics by 6.7%, and 2,900 members have met the full 15% goal, he said. The goal has been extended through 2013.

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) spoke to members Monday afternoon and offered practical advice for Congressional visits, noting providers should make the issue local and tell a story meaningful enough that Congressmen “will want to steal it.” They should invite lawmakers to visit their facilities and “show them the figures” related to long-term care services, he said.

Famed journalist Bob Woodward was the featured keynote speaker, regaling the 450 members with stories about current and past presidents, Watergate and the political climate in Washington.

The 2013 Joe Warner Patient Advocacy Award winners ­— Doug Burr, vice president of finance, reimbursement and government relations at Health Care Navigator LLC; Phil Fogg Jr., president and CEO of Marquis Companies; Kelley Rice-Schild, executive director of the Floridian Nursing & Rehabilitation Center; and Craig Souza, president of the North Carolina Health Care Facilities Association ­­— also were recognized.