February 29, 2024

Provider actions can help assisted living counter ‘great scrutiny’

McKnights Senior Living

The assisted living model is “under threat” following increased federal scrutiny and negative attention from lay media outlets, but providers can take steps to educate lawmakers and the public about the positive aspects of the setting, speakers in two settings said Wednesday.

During an Argentum Advocates call on Wednesday, association executives encouraged senior living providers and their community-level staff members to share positive stories about the setting to counter the recent negative attention from policymakers and the press. Also Wednesday, Willis Towers Watson hosted a webinar to share risk management solutions providers can use to mitigate elopement risks in senior living.

The US Senate Special Committee on Aging launched a review of the assisted living industry following articles in the Washington Post, which reported on the deaths of residents who wandered from communities, as well as the New York Times and KFF Health News, which scrutinized an industry pricing structure that adds fees on top of basic charges to cover additional services, as well as rate increases and the for-profit status of most providers.

Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), who oversaw a January hearing, also sent letters to the leaders of Brookdale Senior Living, Atria Senior Living and Sunrise Senior Living, asking them to address his “significant concerns” about costs, staffing levels and resident safety.

“Last month’s hearing in the Senate, and the ongoing media coverage, has made it abundantly clear that assisted living is on the minds of policymakers who have the power to change the way we care for our seniors,” Argentum Government Relations Director Dan Samson said Wednesday during the Argentum Advocates monthly briefing. “We need everyone’s help to counter the narrative being pushed by the media and policymakers that is clearly one-sided and truly doesn’t understand the nature of what we do for the nearly 2 million seniors across senior living, and what we do for them on a daily basis.”

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