A high level overview of what the new One Voice initiate might look like.

Last Friday I published an article titled A Conversation with Granger Cobb about One Voice that flowed from a visit with Granger, CEO of Emeritus Senior Living, about the One Voice Initiative. If the initiative happens it will culminate in the merger of the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) and American Senior Housing Association (ASHA). This new generation trade association would have a close association with National Investment Center (NIC).

It is easy to see this as a “so what: new name same old thing” deal but it will be radically different and better. 

Here are the highlights of what would remain the same and what would be different:

The Same

  • There would continue to be an annual conference and trade show that would look a lot like the current ALFA annual convention (May 19-22, 2014) that will include lots of educational sessions for local and regional leaders and a big vendor trade show.
  • There would continue to be an annual meeting of mostly C-suite executives that would be similar to the ASHA annual convention.
  • There would continue to be federal advocacy in Washington D.C.
  • The new organization would continue to service as a deep resource pool for large and small operators

New and Better

  • More resources would be focused on the state level advocacy efforts, which is where the real action is.  In a practical sense it would mean providing more support and resources to the state affiliates.  There would be a big push to get senior executives from the One Voice companies to play an active supporting role in each state where they have communities.
  • In talking with owners and leaders of smaller senior living companies there is a sense that the leadership of ALFA in particular is so dominated by the big players that these smaller companies feel largely sidelined. This new organization would be very deliberate about creating a place at the table for small companies and even single building entities.
  • There would be a major initiative to create specific training requirements for various positions in assisted living that would likely include required minimum skill sets, number of initial training hours and on-going training.  While the body would work as an industry to create an initial set of standards, they would ultimately look to an outside entity or entities to do the implementation.
  • There would be a major initiative to create an accreditation system whereby an outside third party would do a regular evaluation of participating senior communities and certify (or not) those communities who meet an established set of standards.  Again, while the One Voice Organization would be heavily involved in establishing the standards, the program would ultimately be implemented by an outside organization.
  • The organization will engage in an ongoing, concerted effort to paint a more accurate picture of what assisted living and senior housing can do and how it serves the elders of this country.
  • It will mean one set of dues rather than two.  It will mean fewer meetings and a single source of critical information.

Next:  What it will mean to you as a developer, owner or employee of a senior living community.

Steve Moran

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