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AHCA, NCAL Head Parkinson Named a Top Lobbyist for 2020<p><em>​​​The Hill </em>news outlet this week named American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Parkinson one of the nation’s <a href="https&#58;//thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/top-lobbyists/529550-the-hills-top-lobbyists-2020">“Top Lobbyists”</a> of 2020.</p><p>According to <em>The Hill,</em> of the more than 10,000 lobbyists in the country, “these are the people who stand out for delivering results […] in the halls of Congress and in the administration.”</p><p>This is the eighth consecutive “Top Lobbyist” award for Parkinson, who was also recognized by <em>Modern Healthcare </em>this year as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential People in Health Care.”</p><p>AHCA/NCAL said 2020 has been the most difficult year in memory for the long term care profession and noted that any lobbying success is on behalf of providers and is an indication of the “immense effort” being undertaken in facilities across the country to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.<br></p>2020-12-11T05:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Breaking-News/PublishingImages/740%20x%20740/1120MarkParkinson.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />PolicyPatrick ConnoleAny lobbying success is on behalf of providers and toward the “immense effort” being undertaken in facilities to combat COVID-19, group says.
AHCA, NCAL Congratulate Xavier Becerra, Biden’s Pick for HHS Chief The American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) on Dec. 8 congratulated California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on his appointment to be the nation’s next secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in President-elect Joseph Biden’s administration. &#160;“AHCA/NCAL extends our congratulations to Attorney General Xavier Becerra for his nomination to serve as HHS secretary under President-elect Biden’s administration. We have valued our conversations with him when he served in Congress and now as attorney general of California, and we look forward to an open dialogue in his new role, once confirmed,” the association said.&#160;In addition, AHCA/NCAL said given the tremendous tragedy and challenges the long term care profession has faced this year, it hopes to work with Becerra on ensuring that long term care is regarded as a pivotal part of the U.S. health care system and prioritized for ongoing resources in order to battle COVID-19.“When we get through this, we hope to have a national discussion with HHS and other stakeholders about how we can learn from this experience and properly support long term care facilities as we prepare for a rapidly growing elderly population,” AHCA/NCAL said.&#160; &#160;For more information, visit www.ahcancal.org/coronavirus.2020-12-08T05:00:00ZPolicyPatrick ConnoleThe association says it hopes to work with Becerra on ensuring that long term care is prioritized for resources to battle COVID-19.
Possible Split Government Emerging from U.S. Election Bodes Well for LT, PAC <p>Even though final results from the U.S. presidential and congressional elections are not yet known, the head of advocacy operations for the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) tells <em>Provider </em>the trends look positive for the long term and post-acute care sector.</p><p>Clifton Porter II, senior vice president, government relations, AHCA/NCAL, says this is because any continuation of divided government will likely temper any drastic swings in how the industry’s issues fare.</p><p>“The Senate seems to be lining up to where the Republicans hold the majority, albeit a smaller majority, and the Democratic majority will continue in the House, although it has shrunk relatively significantly,” he says.&#160; While the presidency seems to be leaning to former Vice President Joe Biden (D), “Overall, for us, if the current direction of the races continues it will be good for us simply because we are going to have mutual accountability on issues alarming to us,” Porter says.</p><p>There is some concern about reconstituting relationships at the policy level during the COVID-19 crisis, notably at the Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Medicare &amp; Medicaid Services, where leadership and staff would see a major turnover with a change in administrations, Porter notes.<br></p><p>“We are going to have to essentially start all of our work over with a new administration [if the trend in vote tabulations holds]. Being in the middle of a pandemic makes this a little unnerving, as we will be switching to new people while we still have some pretty serious challenges from a public health perspective,” he says. </p><p>What lies ahead is already being discussed at the highest levels, Porter says, pointing to comments earlier on Nov. 4 from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that he wants to get a new stimulus package completed by the end of the calendar year, reversing a previous pre-election statement that such work could wait until the new Senate is seated in January.</p><p>Porter says of utmost importance to providers is McConnell’s stance that any new stimulus package tied to COVID relief include liability reforms to protect business from virus-related claims.</p><p>“For us that will be the focus during the lame-duck [session from now until January 2021] because of McConnell’s courageous position where he drew a line the sand on liability reforms,” Porter says.<br></p><p>“COVID was beyond any of our control, and if McConnell holds the majority there will be protections, and that alone to me removes an existential threat to our profession,” he says.</p><p>AHCA/NCAL will also be working to ensure that current funds in the government’s COVID relief programs last well into 2021 as the pandemic is showing no signs of slowing down. </p><p>“Some centers will need help sooner rather than later, but there has been some additional relief just recently with value-based payments of some $25,000 per building per month, on average,” he says.</p><p>“We cannot anticipate where the tail is on this crisis yet, and we have to be smart and assume the worst. We would rather have more resources that not enough.”<br></p>2020-11-05T05:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Breaking-News/PublishingImages/740%20x%20740/capitol_blue_skies_flag.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />PolicyPatrick ConnoleAny continuation of divided government will likely temper drastic swings in how the industry’s issues fare, says AHCA/NCAL SVP Clifton Porter II.
Provider Groups Urge Congress to Extend Relief From Medicare Sequester Cuts Into 2021<p>The American Health Care Association, American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, and National Association for Homecare and Hospice wrote congressional leaders on Oct. 21 urging them to extend the congressionally enacted moratorium on the application of the Medicare sequester cuts into 2021 and through the duration of the public health emergency (PHE) caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. </p><p>In total, these organizations provide health care to more than 62 million Medicare patients, and the persistently high COVID-19 rates across the country are stressing the health care system, they said. </p><p>The letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) urges extension of the relief from the 2 percent sequester cut enacted in the CARES Act that afforded critical relief during the pandemic to all providers who participate in the Medicare program through the end of 2020.</p><p>“Physicians, nurses, hospitals, health systems, long term care hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, and hospices have been hit hard by the pandemic, incurring significant expenses to treat the sick, but experiencing historic financial losses due to the decrease in inpatient and outpatient services,” the letter said.</p><p>Relief from the 2 percent sequester cut by way of the CARES Act afforded critical relief during the PHE to all providers who participate in the Medicare program through the end of 2020, it continued. </p><p>“Clearly Congress recognized the importance of this relief for the duration of the PHE. Given that the PHE is certain to continue into 2021, it is a safe assumption that America’s health care providers will continue to face the overwhelming financial challenges and pressures<br>associated with higher overhead costs due to personal protective equipment and other safeguards, lost revenue due to delayed elective procedures and/or forgone routine visits, and hazard pay to staff.”</p><p>The organizations said they are grateful that Congress has provided a much-needed reprieve from the Medicare sequestration since May. Without future sequestration relief, however, America’s health care safety net could be at risk of collapse, they said.<br></p>2020-10-22T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Breaking-News/PublishingImages/740%20x%20740/mask_4.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />PolicyPatrick ConnoleGiven that the public health emergency is certain to continue, it is safe to assume that America’s health care providers will continue to face the overwhelming financial challenges associated with higher overhead costs, the groups said.