​As providers across the nation look to the year ahead, Provider reached out to leaders in the industry to determine an outlook in 2022. Despite uncertainties, like COVID-19’s persistence and ongoing workforce shortages, these leaders see many reasons to be optimistic. From advocacy issues on the Hill to growing appreciation for the work of long term and post-acute care in our country, these AHCA/NCAL state executives shared what they’re looking forward to this year.

Rachel Bunch"For 2022, I’m looking forward to our work on needed updates to our reimbursement and regulatory framework that better reflect the acuity of patients we serve today, and will serve in the coming years.

Also, I’m excited about continuing work to improve nursing education opportunities. We have talked about the shortage of nurses for a long time, but the pandemic and workforce challenges have magnified the need. I am ready to work on strategies to create more nurse education opportunities in our state. My wish for 2022 is that we can grow the number of nurses in Arkansas, specifically in long term care."

Rachel E. Bunch
Executive Director
Arkansas Health Care Association / Arkansas Assisted Living Association


Adam Sholar"My hope for 2022: this is the year that people gain greater appreciation and respect for the dedicated and hardworking employees who care for our nation’s most vulnerable citizens. That, in turn, leads to a dramatic increase in funding to an appropriate level and an influx of new workers entering the skilled nursing profession." 
Adam Sholar
President & Chief Executive Officer
North Carolina Health Care Facilities Association


Patti Cullen"I am hopeful that 2022 will be the reckoning year for our caregivers--with passion and public debate about the significant implications of undervaluing the backbone of this profession.  At some point in 2022 Minnesota will reach 1,000,000 seniors--many of whom will need services provided by caregivers. This milestone gives us a chance to celebrate the importance of seniors and the importance of building and maintaining a quality workforce through supportive wages and benefits and workforce flexibility."

Patti Cullen
President & Chief Executive Officer
Care Providers of Minnesota


Brent Willett"What makes me most optimistic about the year ahead is the remarkable leadership and steely calm in the face of historic adversity that long-term care providers have demonstrated the last two years. Every day I am reminded that they are not like other people. And thank God for that."

Brent Willett
President & Chief Executive Officer
Iowa Health Care Association


Betsy Johnson"I am hopeful that 2022 will bring forth positive change for Kentucky’s long-term care community. Our sector has been through so much. 2020 brought tears, fear, and concern. 2021 brought a renewed sense of determination that we must stick together to fight for the resources that our providers need to care for our most vulnerable populations. The COVID-19 pandemic brought attention to the important work that our providers do every day. There is no turning back. 2022 will show that we are more united than ever."

Betsy Johnson
Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities


Emmett Reed“The pandemic has challenged our workforce like never before, but I am hopeful for the future and the emergence of new leaders within our profession and our Association. Every year FHCA hosts two leadership trainings for rising long term care professionals – one focused on administrators and another focused on clinicians. The enthusiasm, commitment to serving others and innovative thoughts on how care can and should be delivered from these young professionals is inspiring and I hope will breathe fresh life into how we overcome our current workforce challenges.”

Emmett Reed
Executive Director
Florida Health Care Association


Steven Buck“Heroes employed in long term care have been working professionally and compassionately delivering excellent care in the most daunting of circumstances for so long now. I hope they soon find a more predictable, peaceful rhythm in their professional and personal lives. As an advocate for our members and the residents they so capably serve, I am eager to tell the stories of outstanding care even in the darkest of times and to make the case that investment in long term care is not only the right thing to do but is also a prudent investment by our policymakers that will pay dividends for years to come.”

Steven Buck
President & Chief Executive Officer
Care Providers Oklahoma