The American Health Care Association (AHCA) and the National Center for Assisted Living’s (NCAL) process for electing officers and board members is based on a philosophy that leadership within the Association is a privilege. As such, the Association’s members have the responsibility to locate potential candidates and the electorate has the responsibility to choose the best among the candidates for office.
Utilizing an election process based on this philosophy, AHCA/NCAL provides an opportunity for potential candidates and the Association to assure the membership of each candidate’s ethical behavior. The process also helps assure that each candidate’s background is one that will reflect positively on the Long Term Care (LTC) Profession and AHCA/NCAL‘s standing in the eyes of the public. As an Association of providers caring for the most frail and vulnerable in our society, AHCA/NCAL must be perceived as an ethical organization --and that perception must be rooted in the way it conducts its business.
Quality leadership is vital to AHCA/NCAL and to the profession of long term care it represents. Therefore, demonstrated professional competency, performance and behavior of individual candidates will be considered in light of the importance these qualities hold for the Association. The Board candidate application process is designed to assist individuals to discern whether they have the credentials and requisite standing for leadership in AHCA/NCAL. The process is also designed to assist the AHCA Ethics Committee responsible for certifying candidates to run for office and the AHCA Ethics Committee in fulfilling its responsibility to certify only those candidates who meet AHCA/NCAL’s eligibility and leadership criteria. The ultimate judgment as to how well a certified candidate meets the AHCA/NCAL criteria for leadership lies with the voting membership.
The general criteria include the following:
- leadership capability;
- competency in the field of aging and the profession of long term care; and
- commitment to AHCA/NCAL’s vision, values, goals and objectives.
- in the local community, in particular, service to that community;
- for those in need of long term care services; and
- for ethical behavior.
- the needs of frail, elderly and disabled people;
- the needs of the broader long term care community; and
- the need to make decisions and communicate in the best interest of the LTC profession and the Association.
- to anticipate, identify, and express to the public issues that will affect the frail and vulnerable and those individuals and agencies that serve them;
- and to inspire and empower AHCA/NCAL constituents to high standards of professionalism and ethical conduct.
- of those values to which AHCA/NCAL constituents aspire and with which they wish to be identified publicly.
- in concern for all AHCA/NCAL members, especially those who might not otherwise be heard.
- of the Association’s ethical behavior in its positions, policies and use of economic resources.
The Election Process
In 2000, the AHCA Ethics Committee took over responsibility for actually conducting the review process for candidates, assisting with the Candidates Forum, and monitoring voting along with the AHCA Constitution and Bylaws Committee. The Ethics Committee will continue its responsibilities in 2010.
A prospective candidate for election to national office in AHCA/NCAL will be asked to participate in a process that is designed to give candidates an opportunity to present themselves and their vision of the future to the AHCA membership, and to assure the AHCA/NCAL membership of their qualifications for leadership.
Each candidate seeking office in AHCA/NCAL will be required to submit a completed application and questionnaire and to participate in an eligibility and certification process. Those candidates that are determined by the AHCA Ethics Committee to be ineligible for office or fail to be certified will have an opportunity to appeal the decision prior to elections at the AHCA/NCAL Annual Convention. Candidates will also be afforded the opportunity to participate in a voluntary candidates’ forum held prior to elections at AHCA/NCAL’s Annual convention.
Candidates who are nominated from the floor, will be required to submit a completed application and questionnaire within two hours of the close of the first Council of States session during which they were nominated. These candidates will undergo a modified eligibility and certification process. Floor nominees will also have the opportunity to participate in the voluntary candidate’s forum.
All deliberations of the AHCA Ethics Committee will be held in confidence, including the fact that a prospective candidate has sought review. The results of the Committee’s deliberations will be made known only if the candidate decides to seek office. In the event that a candidate has not received the support of the Committee and continues to seek office, the fact that the individual was not deemed “certified” shall be publicly noted.
All written documentation related to the disclosure portion of the certification process for candidates--as well as Committee notes and records--will be kept confidential and will be destroyed.
Because leadership is, indeed, a privilege, it is critical that AHCA/NCAL leaders voluntarily disclose any significant issues or conflicts of interest that occur during the individual’s elected term. Among the issues that should be disclosed are the following:
- Finding of substandard quality of care that results in--
- Significant fines
- Denial of payment for new admissions or for all residents
- Temporary management
- Allegations or charges related to fraud or any other actions or allegations that could adversely reflect upon AHCANCAL’s standing in the eyes of the public.
- Licensing revocations or disciplinary actions
If a problem, such as those described above, occurs during a board member’s tenure, the individual should immediately do the following:
Report the problem in writing to the AHCA Chair or the NCAL Chair as appropriate. In the event that the AHCA Chair or NCAL Chair must disclose a problem, disclosure should be made to the AHCA/NCAL General Counsel. AHCA/NCAL’s General Counsel will advise the appropriate board member on the disclosure obligations consistent with other legal requirements that may be applicable.