LEVERAGING ADVOCACY COALITIONS WITH NON-TRADITIONAL PARTNERS

Background

NAB is the national not-for-profit association serving jurisdictions that license, credential, and regulate long term care administrators. NAB protects public and consumer interests by establishing and advocating model competency standards, and by serving as a national resource of information. NAB members are state licensing boards and agencies that license long-term care administrators.

Beginning in 1998, NAB noticed a serious decline in the number of new applicants for licensure as Long Term Care Administrators. The organization began to track the decline and to raise the visibility of this issue in the eyes of professional and industry stakeholder organizations.NAB took a leadership position on this issue by sponsoring a series of Summits that brought major stakeholders together for the first time to begin to identify reasons for the decline and to explore initiatives to reverse the trend. One of the most often frustrations identified by industry professionals was an overly punitive regulatory environment.

In 2004 a bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate titled the Elder Justice Act. Although the 120+ page bill included many positive proposals with the intent of protecting vulnerable long term care residents from harm, it also included two very punitive articles aimed directly at long term care professionals. This was exactly the type of punitive regulation that was causing potential administrators to consider alternate career opportunities.

Bostrom Solutions for Success

Randy Lindner, president and COO of Bostrom, who serves as NAB’s executive director, in partnership with NAB’s elected President Denney Austin, proposed a novel advocacy approach to the two major trade associations who were already fighting this legislation. NAB’s proposal was to have the regulators themselves (the NAB) meet with the sponsoring Senator to express an alternate point of view on the negative impact of the proposed legislation. The trade groups are in a constant battle with legislators to protect their economic interest in federal and state Medicare and Medicaid programs and tend to be painted with a broad brush as having a selfish interest on legislative matters by most legislators.

Lindner and Austin, armed with data on the decline in the recruitment and retention of administrators, met with senate staff and the attorney who drafted the legislation. They expressed their surprise at receiving a request for a meeting from the regulatory community rather than the industry in opposition to proposed legislation. The meeting resulted in an invitation to propose alternate language to the two articles of concern.

Recognizing the strength of the partnership between the industry, profession and regulatory community, the sponsoring senator offered a compromise in the interest of preserving the majority of the bill. The compromise was to drop the two offending articles in exchange for a letter of support with the signature of all members of the coalition who opposed the bill, stating its support of the bill with the proposed changes.