A new health-related trade association is born in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling on the mammoth 2010 health care reform law.
Healthcare facilities and lenders have formed the Coalition for Healthcare Finance (CHF) and CHFPAC, a new bi-partisan trade association and political action committee to support federal programs that enhance capital access.
"There are several trade groups in Washington that deal with healthcare, but none has CHF's singular focus on credit access," says CHF board member Frank Romano.
Romano is also a board member for the American Health Care Association and owns and operates several healthcare facilities in Massachusetts. Romano has made contributions through Essex Group Management Corp., Rowley, Mass., to mainly Democratic candidates for Congress, as well as Rep. Olympia Snowe, the Maine Republican, according to Campaignmoney.com's database.
The organization has begun its advocacy efforts and has provided formal comments on Federal Housing Administration (FHA) plans to charge higher fees for financing and to impose new regulations on operators of long-term care (LTC) facilities.
The group is focusing its effort on FHA, which provides mortgage insurance for skilled nursing, assisted living and memory care facilities. Both programs are "negative credit subsidy," meaning they do not require taxpayer funds to operate.
"To say we've hit the ground running would be an understatement," says CHF Chairman Brian Reynolds. "This is an election year and Congress is looking critically at many federal programs.
“We need to support thoughtful candidates and good policies regardless of party,” adds Reynolds, who also serves as Managing Director of Long-Term Care for Capital Funding, LLC in Baltimore, Maryland, an active FHA healthcare lender. “Congress needs to know how important this issue is to facilities, care-givers and thousands of local economies.”
CHF will focus on healthcare finance to facilities nationwide, as access to financing is important in the perpetuation and improvement of health care.
"Creating a trade association and PAC is a natural step so we can be effective advocates in Congress and support candidates who understand the importance of healthcare finance to facilities and the economy," Reynolds says.
So, you never considered FHA as a part of the healthcare puzzle?
"FHA healthcare has always been a stealth program," says CHF CEO Chris Boesen, who previously served as FHA's Director of Insured Health Care Facilities. "A lot of our focus will be on the FHA programs that provide improved credit access for facilities nationwide, but any issue that affects healthcare facilities' ability to access financing is important to our members."
The group is already working cooperatively with other groups in healthcare and finance who share similar policy goals," Boesen adds.