Through targeted advocacy, the Health Care Council of Illinois fights for improved policies that protect the quality of care for vulnerable elderly nursing home residents across the state. “Our membership is comprised of over 50% of all nursing homes and over 70% of all Medicaid-eligible nursing home residents in the state of Illinois. We work directly with state government leaders and legislators by pushing for practical, safe resident care policies, fair regulations, and balanced reimbursements to ensure that nursing homes are well-represented,” said Ron Nunziato, the senior director of policy and regulatory affairs at HCCI, on his recent appearance on LTC Heroes, the top-rated podcast about long-term care.   

Watch the interview below:   

Nunziato told Experience Care’s Peter Murphy Lewis that his team has worked hard to convey the pain points of the industry to officials. During his experience working as a nursing home operator and in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, he notes “Government offices don’t always work collaboratively, and they receive various messages from different bodies,” said Nunziato. “It is an incredible challenge for management and leadership in these facilities to receive inconsistent messages from the government when those on the frontline are really trying to do the best they can to ensure the safety of residents and staff.”  

In order to facilitate stronger communication, Nunziato has made it his goal for 2023 to “develop stronger and more collaborative relationships with elected officials; healthcare stakeholders; and the Illinois Department of Public Health, the long-term care regulatory arm of the state.” The senior director is confident this approach will yield positive results. “If we work collaboratively, we could affect bigger changes and reach the goal that we’re all trying to reach: providing better resident care to really make a difference in the lives of the people these facilities care for,” he said in the interview.   

Meanwhile, Nunziato has always aimed to set a good example for other leaders in the industry by empowering his staff and giving them a voice. “I learned early on that, in management, you have to be present,” he said. “You don’t necessarily want to ask staff to do things you wouldn’t do yourself. You really must show support for your staff while encouraging and involving them in decision-making and explaining how and why decisions were made.”  

It is that sort of awareness of the concerns of caregivers and leaders that Nunziato strives to represent each and every day. And with clear goals for the new year, HCCI is likely to affect major change in the near future.   

Written by: Cindy Wong