The year 1974 was significant for many reasons. President Richard Nixon resigned from office, and Gerald Ford became commander in chief. The earliest forms of word processors hit the market. The Miami Dolphins won the Super Bowl. Stephen King published his first novel, The Sting won the Oscar for Best Picture, and All in the Family and M*A*S*H were among the top-rated TV shows. And Provider published its first issue as the official publication of the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL).


Today, the magazine has a readership of more than 52,000 owners, operators, clinicians, administrators, and others working in nursing facilities and assisted living communities across the country. But from day one, it established a voice for the industry that has strengthened and grown over the years. It remains the most highly read publication in this care sector, partly thanks to its online counterpart (, which debuted in 2011. Provider continues to track the pulse of the industry and serves as the leading source of post-acute and long term care clinical and business news.

Steve ChiesProvider has tracked and provided information and insights about new trends, regulations and legislation, and technology that have emerged over the years. The publication has also featured pioneers and leaders in the field. At the same time, some topics—such as staffing and the pursuit of quality care—have been ongoing staples.

As Provider celebrates its 50th anniversary, AHCA/NCAL members and friends paid tribute to a publication they consider a must-read.

Memories and Opportunities Abound

Steve Chies, MHA, LNHA (Mn), FACHCA, LHSE, president of North Cities Health Care, Inc., recalled, “One of my first contacts with AHCA on a national level was when I was asked to write an article about marketing in 1984. Since then, I’ve been interviewed numerous times, and I see the publication as a source of information we need as a sector to bring people together from a cultural standpoint.”

Shelly PetersonHe continued, “I think Provider connects people to their colleagues. It’s a good place to check out the latest trends and ideas. The publication has a great history and tremendous potential for the future.”

Shelly Peterson, who recently retired as president of the North Dakota Long Term Care Association, said, “Provider was my go-to publication when I traveled. Airplane time was a great opportunity to catch up and read about new trends and people doing good work. It’s a trusted source of information and a good read. Provider is dependable and always there when I want to know what’s happening in our industry.”

In an ever-changing world, Peterson said, “that a magazine can stay relevant for 50 years is amazing. It has stayed on top of where the industry is and what has changed in the world. It has stood the test of time, and I can see it lasting another 50 years.”


Reading and Sharing

Patti CullenPatti Cullen, former state executive of Care Providers of Minnesota, said, “I’ve been in this profession almost as long as Provider. I’ve been featured in the publication talking about topics like COVID-19 and regulatory changes. I read it the second it comes out. I would forward it to my team with little notes about different articles I thought were particularly important or interesting.”

For those individuals who are immersed in operations, Cullen said, “Provider plays a role in helping you think ahead and get topics on your radar. Provider hits on issues and provides a different take and unique perspective on things. For instance, as payment changes, it is helpful for us to learn not just from our state associations about what is going on with things like ACOs [accountable care organizations] and issues related to value-based care.” She added that she appreciates Provider’s online presence and the move to resources such as video clips and podcasts. “Ramping up the digital presence is so important,” she stressed.

Anna FisherThere are a few keys Cullen sees to Provider’s staying power. “It’s a consistent presence even when there is turnover,” she said. At the same time, she noted, Provider remains topical, current, and fresh. Each issue has something new that others haven’t thought about, and it features new faces and unique insights. “Its variety keeps it fresh and timely. It hits all the buttons.”

Anna Fisher, CADDCT/CDP/CMDCP/CDSGF/QCP, a clinician and educator in Nebraska, offered a message directly to Provider: “Congratulations on 50 years of glorious writing! You have given us a platform to share our stories and embrace the knowledge and expertise from so many leaders and team members across the nation.”

She added, “In these opportunistic times, Provider is a venue that fosters connections, amplifies our voices, and the writers know just how to get to the heart of the conversation. I look forward to many more years of news, information, and insights.”

A Lifeline in Challenging Times

Debbie MeadeProvider is more than a tool, said Debbie Meade, co-chair of the Quality Cabinet and chief executive officer of Health Management in Georgia. It is a lifeline. “I was AHCA chair during the worst pandemic we have ever seen, and just having Provider as a communication tool that enabled us to reach out, provide comfort, and let people know they weren’t alone was so important,” she said.

Provider also enabled AHCA leadership to share information and updates on clinical and research news, as well as regulatory guidance and changes. “In a time when we weren’t able to have one-on-one contact, Provider gave our members a place to go for reliable, current information and some form of relief in a very difficult time,” Meade said.

“It consistently provides essential communication to members that helps us prepare our businesses for the many challenges we’ve faced and work through them effectively,” said Meade. Particularly, smaller organizations and independent owners with small or no public policy staff depend on Provider for information, guidance, and updates on policy issues.

Meade has a message to Provider. She said, “Congratulations on a job well done. Please continue to be a beacon, a lifeline, and a positive force for our profession.”


From the ‘80s to the Present: Provider’s Been There

Mary OusleyMary Ousley, chief strategy officer at PruittHealth, and Provider have had a connection since 1980 when Ousley first became a nursing center administrator. “We didn’t have the emails, alerts, online programming, and other technology we have today. Provider was one thing that inspired me to get more involved with the Kentucky state association and AHCA,” she said.

She remembers getting updates on challenging issues of the day via Provider. “Communications in Provider about these issues helped us see a better way to deal with them,” said Ousley, adding, “Provider has helped facilitate change again and again.” At the same time, she said, “Provider has always done an excellent job of keeping us informed about updates and changes to the regulatory and survey process. This is such a critical component of who we are.”

The magazine’s longevity doesn’t surprise Ousley. One key, she said, is its interdisciplinary approach. “You get information about HR [human resources] issues, clinical updates, regulatory and legislative news, and resources. When you look at all the components, there is something for everyone.”

Looking to the future, Ousley suggested that Provider “will continue to have a critical purpose in post-acute and long term care.” Whether readers access Provider online or count on print copies, she said, the publication will continue to keep people informed and updated.

She observed, “This is a critical time for post-acute and long term care. Our acuity has changed dramatically, and this is being recognized everywhere.” More than ever, administrators and their teams need reliable sources of information and guidance. Provider helps everyone see what AHCA/NCAL members do and the individuals they serve as having value and being worthy of dignity, respect, and quality care.

Here’s to Another 50 Years!

Ultimately, Provider plays a powerful role. It gives everyone who picks up a copy or accesses it online a window into the tremendous effort, passion, commitment, and creativity providers and their team put into caring for their residents every day. They get a unique perspective that is empowering and enlightening. This publication will continue that role in the months and years ahead. As the issues change and the industry evolves, Provider will be there for its readers.