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Mississippi Health Care Association turns 60

The Mississippi Health Care Association, established 60 years ago, is the state’s oldest and largest association of nursing homes, personal care homes and assisted living facilities.

MHCA members care for the frail elderly, mentally disabled, veterans groups and residents who need minimum assistance with daily living.

“We’re really pleased to be celebrating our 60th anniversary this year,” Vanessa Henderson, executive director, said in a statement. “MHCA members include approximately 200 nursing homes and personal care homes who serve more than 22,000 residents all across the state. Our members provide jobs for more than 27,000 dedicated employees who serve Mississippi’s most vulnerable citizens, so it is a very serious and important role that our members provide in every community.”

Healthcare_logo_rgbAmong its activities, the MHCA provides educational programs and legislative and government services to its members, who are all licensed by the Mississippi State Department of Health.

Member nursing homes are regulated by the Washington,D.C.-based Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“MHCA is a busy place on a daily basis. While our members are focused on the day-to-day, hands-on care of their residents, our association provides valuable services and resources to our membership including education, regulatory updates, training, public relations outreach and government relations services on their behalf,” said Henderson. “There’s always something happening whether it is preparing for the upcoming legislative session or hosting a conference for nurses and other caregivers.”

In Mississippi, Medicaid is the primary source of funding for patients in nursing homes, which operate under federally-mandated Medicaid and Medicare regulations. In addition, laws that apply to employers in the state also apply to nursing homes and long-term care facilities. That includes OSHA, workers’ comp and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Spreading the word about MHCA and its mission is a focus of the association’s staff.

“Raising the profile of MHCA and our members will continue to be a top priority going into the future,” said Henderson. “We will consistently work to ensure that our MHCA members’ and residents’ voices are heard in a way that allows elected officials and policy makers to understand how legislation, funding, and regulatory issues all affect residents in a real, tangible way. It is our goal for all policies to impact our residents in a positive way and to help them achieve a higher quality of life.”

MHCA leaders foresee an increased need for the care their members provide as the population ages.

Said Henderson, “With the growing baby boomer generation, the demand for services will continue to grow. We can look back on our history and see that MHCA, with its strong member commitment, has built a delivery system that greatly values the care we provide to our residents in the midst of a constantly changing regulatory environment. With perseverance, putting our residents first continues to be our focus.”

Under the association’s umbrella is the MHCA Foundation which was established to help nursing home residents with needs that are not covered by insurance, Medicare, Medicaid or by their families. Donations to the foundation help purchase medical supplies and personal items and raise awareness about the services that long-term health care facilities provide.

Among its activities, the foundation arranges events like special outings for residents and also awards scholarships to staff members of long-term health care facilities.

“One of the best parts about MHCA is our relationship with the Mississippi Health Care Foundation which continually seeks ways to improve the lives of our residents,” Henderson said. “Every year, the Foundation helps touch the lives of residents through donations that provide free eye glasses, dentures, dream purchases, Make-A-Memory activities and other events for residents who would not otherwise be able to pay for such things.”

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