New AHCA head sets strong political agenda for members

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Although he says he won't have his full blueprint to lay out for nearly two more months, the new president of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living made it clear Monday that he wants to play political hardball.

AHCA members should raise their spending on the association's political action committee (PAC) from a current level of about $1.5 million to $3 million yearly over the next two annual cycles, Hal Daub declared at the opening general session of the group's annual meeting in Miami Beach.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we need to put up if we're going to play some ball," said Daub, a former member of the House Ways and Means Committee. He said the American Hospital Association's PAC, for example, provides $3.5 million per year for lobbying, so "you can see who gets the attention."

Daub also said he wants to see a huge rise in the number of AHCA members attending the association's Congressional briefings each spring in Washington. Currently at about 300, the number should soar to 1,000 within two years and 2,000 by  the spring 2007 meeting so that more members of Congress can be visited.
"Maximizing and flexing our political muscle is necessary in Washington" to achieve needed reforms and funding, Daub told a standing-room only crowd of more than 2,000 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Urging members to enhance the association's identity, in part by
embracing Quality First tenets, Daub also announced that next Tuesday the long-awaited rollout of the National Commission for Quality Long Term Care would take place. Fifteen committee members for this "first independent commission" will be identified at a Washington conference, according to AHCA and National Quality Forum officials.