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ALFA announces credentialing body

April 9, 2015
by Lois A. Bowers, Senior Editor
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The Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) has moved one step closer to its aim of quantifying the quality of those working in the industry by establishing a separate, independent organization to operate and govern certification and certificate programs. At its March 31 meeting, the group’s board agreed to create the entity, which ALFA President and CEO James Balda told Long-Term Living awaits a name as ALFA continues to work on its rebranding effort.

“We are committed to creating the highest standards of excellence in senior living through long-term investments in credentialing, creating even greater value for our residents and the families they serve,” ALFA Board Chairman Brenda Bacon (right), who also is president and CEO of Brandywine Senior Living, said in a statement as ALFA announced the news April 8. The existence of the new organization will encourage professionals to obtain additional skills and also will help prospective and existing residents and their families evaluate staff members’ qualifications, ALFA maintains.

Tests expected next year

The newly formed credentialing body initially will focus on qualifications for community executive directors, with plans for future programs related to memory care and sales and marketing, Balda (left) told Long-Term Living. “Based on our current timeline, we anticipate testing to be available in 2016,” he said. First, the entity must establish domains of knowledge, create a test and have it validated by independent accrediting body, and develop training.

Tim Buchanan, ALFA Board of Directors vice chairman and CEO of Legend Senior Living, will be one member of the new credentialing organization’s board, which initially will consist of the current members of ALFA’s Credentialing Committee “to ensure continuity of the work completed to date,” Balda said, noting that the Credentialing Committee has been spearheading the effort for the past year. “Through the development of bylaws for the new organization, a formal process will be established for appointment of future board members by the organization itself to ensure autonomy and independence from the ALFA Board of Directors,” he added. The credentialing program’s board will set the body’s strategic direction, establish policy and make policy-level certification decisions.

More changes coming

In mid 2014, Bacon had announced ALFA’s intention to establish a credentialing effort as well as professional standards and an accreditation process. Then-interim CEO Maribeth Bersani, in an exclusive interview with Long-Term Living in November, reiterated those plans, as did Bacon and Balda when they spoke with Long-Term Living upon the December announcement of Balda’s impending stint as ALFA’s president and CEO. Balda began his duties with ALFA in January.

Plans to develop standards and an accreditation process also are progressing, Balda told Long-Term Living today. “The ALFA Standards Committee continues to work toward establishing community-level principles and will be seeking guidance from members of the ALFA Executive Advisory Group” at the organization’s annual meeting in early May, he said. “The accreditation process also is part of the work of the ALFA Standards Committee.” These topics were among agenda items when ALFA leaders hosted 35 state partners in February in Washington, DC.

ALFA’s efforts to come up with a more fitting name for the organization, which Bersani, ALFA’s senior vice president of public policy, previously detailed to Long-Term Living, continue as well, Balda said. “ALFA is continuing to work toward its own rebranding and as such is now taking this new [credentialing] organization into consideration as we continue our work,” he said. In November, Bersani had relayed the hopes that a new name would be announced at the 2015 national gathering. Perhaps as a sign of things to come, the organization has incorporated the name of its bi-monthly print publication, Senior Living Executive, into the title of its yearly conference and exposition.

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