Wednesday, September 28, 2011

In Case You Missed It

by Governor Mark Parkinson
President & CEO of AHCA/NCAL

“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” While this may be the code to live by when visiting the City of Lights, the AHCA/NCAL 2011 Convention was just too great to not share with the rest of you who were unable to attend this year. It was a fantastic convention where we celebrated our successes while also preparing for our future.

I had the opportunity to meet with each of our constituency groups to talk about the challenges we have moving forward, and how we must work together to face this uncertain future for our profession. The entire week was highly productive, empowering and moving.

But two moments stood out especially for me: the acceptance speeches of our Developmental Disabilities (DD) Hero of the Year, Beth Atkinson, and Mary Ousley, recipient of the Friend of Quality Award.

Beth is the director of Person Centered Living at Seven Hills Pediatric Center in Groton, Massachusetts. More significantly, she is a compassionate caregiver and dedicated advocate for encouraging residents to participate in life to its fullest. Her speech was so touching that I am confident if we were to play it for every single Member of Congress, they would better appreciate the work you all do.  I’m confident Beth would do it for us, too.  I encourage you to watch her speech here:

Just five minutes earlier was the first tearjerker of the convention – the Friend of Quality Award.  The honor was not only presented to Mary Ousley, but beginning in 2012, future awards will be named the Mary Ousley Champion of Quality Award.  A licensed nursing home administrator, registered nurse and past chair of AHCA, Mary has an unprecedented, continued commitment to promoting quality care in our facilities. Her reaction to learning that the award would forever commemorate her tireless efforts was simply heartwarming and could not be more deserving.

Beyond recognizing our dedicated caregivers, advocates and facilities, this convention was about resolving that, as a profession, we won’t back down. We face extremely difficult challenges over the next few months with Congress debating further reductions to skilled nursing and assisted living. So, it was imperative that we use our time in Vegas to inform members how they can take action.

You can help AHCA/NCAL as well, by taking part in our advocacy efforts:
  • Come to DC for one of our upcoming fly-ins:
    1. October 4-5
    2. October 10-12
    3. October 31-November 1
Members of Congress need to hear from those of you on the frontlines, and those who depend on long term and post-acute care facilities to provide care to loved ones. To sign up, contact Matt Smyth at AHCA.
  • Sign up for our grassroots efforts. Our CapWiz system allows us to blast tens of thousands of letters to Capitol Hill at key moments, and those letters need to come from people like you. Sign up today, and be ready to hit SEND when we alert you.
All in all, it was an extremely successful convention, and I want to thank everyone who attended. And now the real work begins.


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