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ALFA unveils plans for future in wake of ASHA merger talks

June 18, 2014
by Lois A. Bowers, Senior Editor
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The Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) has announced plans for a new name as well as an overall vision for its future in the wake of ended merger talks with the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA). Efforts to join the two organizations may not have been fruitful, but the year-long process included “much valuable work of strategic importance to our industry” on the part of both groups, ALFA Board of Directors Chair Brenda Bacon wrote to ALFA members in a letter.

As a result, ALFA has unveiled plans to:

  • Strengthen its advocacy efforts at the state level;
  • Adopt professional standards;
  • Create credentialing programs for certain staff positions; and
  • “Begin to seriously debate the merits of various types of accreditation.”

“The purpose of these efforts really is two-fold: first, we are committed to improving the quality of our services,” Bacon, president and CEO of Brandywine Senior Living, wrote to senior living professionals. “And, second, by holding ourselves to high standards and expectations, we will build public trust and confidence in our consumers that our businesses are worthy places to take care of their loved ones.” The seniors housing/aging services industry is evolving, she noted, with changes stemming from healthcare reform, shifting preferences of older adults and increased needs related to the physical and cognitive health of residents.

Responding to the work of the “One Voice” task force that explored an ALFA–ASHA merger, Bacon said, ALFA will restructure its membership levels and the dues associated with them; increase its board from 19 to 25 members; form special nominating and branding committees, the former to recommend new board members and the latter to determine a new name for ALFA; and establish special committees related to advocacy at the state level, credentialing, certification and standards.

ASHA originally was formed in 1991 as a committee of the National Multi Housing Council, according to the organization's website. It became an independent non-profit in 2001. Members are executives involved in the operation, development and finance of apartments, assisted living communities and continuing care retirement communities.

Related article: ALFA President and CEO Rick Grimes to retire

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