The nation’s largest long-term care provider association will be proactive in the face of reimbursement threats, according to the organization’s new lead lobbyist, Clifton Porter II.

When it comes to lobbying, it is crucial to “keep the main thing the main thing” — and in long-term care, reimbursement is currently the main thing that is “under siege,” Porter said. He spoke with McKnight’s on camera at the recent American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living conference in Phoenix.

“Playing defense and, quite frankly, creating an offensive game plan around reimbursement is going to be the top priority,” he said.

Porter comes to AHCA after being the chief lobbyist for one of the nation’s largest providers, HCR ManorCare.

With a “firsthand perspective” on the issues that are top-of-mind for operators, Porter “has few equals” when it comes to lobbying for long-term care interests, AHCA President and CEO Mark Parkinson said when announcing Porter’s role with the organization earlier this month.

AHCA has had success in the past by presenting concrete proposals to lawmakers, and currently is advocating for proposals based on reducing hospital readmissions and site-neutral payments. These policies would achieve savings without resorting to reimbursement cuts, the association says. Its “We are the Solution” push includes a $1 million advertising campaign in Washington, D.C.