BENEFITS AND ACTIVITIES ARALA History with the Arkansas Legislature In 2001, ARALA was able to get assisted living legislation passed after many years of effort. Legislative changes that would have required facilities to increase trained staff or provide health care assessments with no reimbursement were examples of changes that ARALA was able to affect. During previous legislative sessions, the future of Medicaid in facilities was in question and required a great deal of effort on the part of the Association. Also, there was a strong push to have the Permit of Approval (POA) program abolished. (The POA program is to ensure adequate services in areas of need while preventing over-building by allowing only projects that can establish need for the facility to be completed.) Again, the association worked on behalf of its members and more largely, the industry as a whole. Most recently working with the Department of Human Services (DHS), the ARALA Legislative Committee was able to educate legislators about the reduced access to assisted living II services in Arkansas due to the declining Medicaid reimbursement rate. During the Public Health Emergency (PHE) DHS requested an Appendix K (temporary) rate increase. The temporary rate was approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). After a lengthy costs survey, a recommended permanent Medicaid reimbursement rate for Assisted Living II has been submitted to CMS with a proposed effective date of 01/01/2023. Unfortunately, the recommended rate is currently been placed on hold for review by the new administration. To effectively represent our members we retain a professional lobbyist, maintain a Special Issues fund, a Political Action Committee fund, and watch and research legislation that could affect the industry. Legislative committee meeting agendas and calendars are monitored and meetings are attended as necessary. Pertinent information is shared with our members in a timely manner. The Association Lobbyist is WSG Consulting, LLC. "WSG is a comprehensive government relations and strategy firm in the State of Arkansas with leadership experience in both the legislative and executive branches of state government. They advance ARALA's interests before legislative committees and relevant agencies. The Association established a PAC fund that makes political campaign contributions and hosts special functions for legislators. We solicit donations from our members, which are used as contributions to legislators sympathetic to choices for elderly and vulnerable Arkansans. The fund is also used to promote the industry with legislators and other elected officials through such functions as receptions and meals. The fund is supported entirely by industry contributions. Advocacy to Government Agencies One of the key duties of the Association is to monitor and act on new regulations. This is a regulated industry, and regulations affect many areas of our work. Currently the Association tracks and represents the industry in five regulatory areas and in any others where issues arise that affect our communities. Complying with regulations is necessary and raises the cost of providing care. Since it is necessary to comply, we need to have regulations that actually protect or establish the minimum standard in areas that make a difference to our clients without undue burden on the operators. In addition to the actual regulations, conflicts arise regarding how regulations are interpreted and applied. Many of the most costly changes that facilities have made involve how regulations are applied or interpreted by regulators. The Association works to see that regulations are applied in a manner in which facilities can comply. Argentum Membership Starting in 2003, the ARALA became an affiliate of the Assisted Living Federation of America or ALFA. Later, ALFA changed its name to Argentum. We believe it is the premier organization in the assisted living industry. They represent the industry with the federal government and work at the national level to provide a favorable environment for assisted living. Argentum researches issues on the national level and provides the state affiliates with that information. More information about Argentum is available on their website, www.argentum.org. ARALA Website The ARALA website is an interactive tool for ARALA members, their staff, families, individuals, and community partners. The “Member Directory" tab contains member communities by county with current contact information. The "Resources" tabs provides links to state agencies that regulate our members as well as resources from our federal partners, and the Arkansas legislative calendar. Newsletter The monthly association newsletter, The ARALA Advisor, carries both state and national news items and goes to all members and community partners. Board members are featured along with staff members from various communities. Members are encouraged to send information about staff you would like to highlight in the newsletter. Articles vary depending on information received throughout the month. The newsletter is delivered electronically via e-mail and will provide information about upcoming events. Training The Association began training administrators in the late 1980s. The ARALA certifies both Assisted Living administrators and Residential Care Facility administrators. We have a continuing education program that covers basics and the latest issues. In addition, we have annual conferences and seminars that bring in experts to educate operators on the best practices in business operations and resident care. We strive to raise the expertise level of our members through training to provide better care for residents. Networking and Assistance Every provider has difficulties and many times those are similar to difficulties experienced by other providers. It is helpful to collaborate with others who have had similar experiences. In situations where a number of providers have the same problem at the same time, the Association has sought professional assistance, developed materials and procedures for dealing with situations, and happily serves as a communication point for members.
Arkansas Residential Assisted Living Association 10 Shackleford Plaza, Suite 102 | Little Rock, AR 72211 Phone: (479-234-5044 | firstname.lastname@example.org | sitemap