Cynthia Morton
Cynthia Morton

Editor’s Note: We are profiling the McKnight’s 2020 Women of Distinction honorees daily through the program’s July 28 online awards ceremony. To register or learn more about this digital celebration, the Forum the next day (which offers three free continuing education credits July 29) and the program in general, visit this website.

Cynthia Morton has worked in the long-term care and post-acute care field for more than three decades, and her imprint can accordingly be seen in the shape of many federal health policy matters.

Perhaps her proudest recent accomplishment was her influence — thanks to a supreme wonk’s perspective — in getting the Medicare Part B caps on rehab therapy repealed. The arbitrary limits were in place for two decades and fell only after Morton and a collection of steadfast stakeholders had applied pressure for numerous years.

Another notable accomplishment was working to secure $20 billion in federal relief funding, which included $10 billion in Medicaid funding from Congress that was sent directly to help co-fill states’ Medicaid expenditures such as funding for nursing home care. Rarely does Congress send such sizable packages with few strings attached.

An authority on Medicare Parts A and B, Medicaid, therapy and post-acute technology, Morton has become a recognized expert on the intersection of clinical, technical and public policy issues.

Her political immersion began with a political science degree from James Madison University. She then held roles under two Virginia governors, where she leaned into medical policy making. A master’s degree in public administration from Virginia Commonwealth University entered the mix, and then came a job as congressional affairs representative for the American Health Care Association. By the time she left that group in 2009, she had been named vice president of political affairs and twice had been named one of long-term care’s “Outstanding Lobbyists” by political newspaper Roll Call.

Also while at AHCA, she built the reach and value of the association’s political action committee and accelerated the group’s annual grassroots lobbying conference in Washington. She later did the same for the National Association for the Support of Long-Term Care, where she has overseen day-to-day efforts for the group of ancillary providers since 2010. 

Since joining NASL, where she is executive vice president, Morton’s prestige and influence has only grown with policy stalwarts such as the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and other notable federal groups.

The McKnight’s Women of Distinction program is jointly administered by McKnight’s Senior Living and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. The program’s Diamond sponsor is PointClickCare. Silver sponsors are OnShift and PharMerica, and the Signature sponsors are Acadia Pharmaceuticals and Enquire.