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Virginia Continuing Care Residents Association

An Education & Advocacy Organization


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HISTORY OF VACCRA


Written April 2008 by
Henrietta Hibbs

Updated May and November 2012 by
Henrietta Hibbs and Barbara Trezona

VaCCRA (Virginia Continuing Care Residents Association) was the dream of Claude Hale, President of the Westminster at Lake Ridge Resident Association, after he was invited by Executive director Glenn West to attend a meeting of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA) in Miami, Florida, in the Fall of 2000. AAHSA -whose name was changed to LeadingAge in 2011- is the trade organization for the management of retirement communities. At the meeting, Claude met residents of retirement communities from Florida, North Carolina, and Massachusetts who were active in their state residents’ associations, and he was convinced it would be a good thing for Virginia. After writing letters to over 30 communities in Virginia, describing the concept and advantages of such an organization, the first meeting was held at Westminster at Lake Ridge in July 2002. Present were 27 delegates representing nine continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs).

Claude had been working with Richard Graham, President of the Residents Association at Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads, on plans for the meeting and proposed by-laws in which the stated purpose of VaCCRA was:

To be educational and civic, and to promote the interests of the residents of continuing care retirement communities in Virginia by:
  1. Collaborating with organizations, both private and governmental, engaged in the provision, regulation, or governance of CCRCs.
  2. Disseminating information of general interest to residents and their associations, especially those issues affecting their financial security and quality of life.
  3. Fostering understanding of the CCRC concept as beneficial and socially desirable.
In addition, VaCCRA would be a member of NaCCRA (National Continuing Care Residents Association).

The Bylaws were ratified at the first Annual Meeting on November 9, 2002. Unfortunately, Claude had become ill and was no longer able to participate except in advisory capacity. Dick Graham took over and at that meeting was elected VaCCRA President.

One of the major goals in the formation of VaCCRA was to establish communication with VANHA (Virginia Association of Non-profit Homes for the Aging), the state organization of administrators and executives, a number of whom did not approve of the formation of VaCCRA and perceived it a threat to their management. In February 2003, a real break-through was made when the Board of Directors of VANHA approved the following statement:
  • VANHA acknowledges the value of its membership of working cooperatively and collaboratively with the residents of its member organizations.
  • Moreover, VANHA is available to assist the residents in their educational pursuits and legislative efforts related to senior services.
  • VANHA recognizes CCRC residents as stakeholders within their communities and will assist with educational and, when appropriate, legislative endeavors.
Dues were set at the organizational meeting at $150 per year for a Community Membership and $15 for an Association (Individual) Member. In 2003 a new category of $25 for a couple was added. Membership assures regular copies of VaCCRA News and other publications as well as invitations to the Spring and Annual (Fall) Members Meetings. All interested parties were welcome to  become Associate Members of VaCCRA.

At the Spring 2004 meeting at the Hermitage at Cedarfield, the formation of chapters of at least 50 members in a community was approved and at a subsequent meeting in November, a rebate to the chapters of $2 per Associate Membership was approved. In 2012, a rebate of $3 per couple was activated.
Since the term of office for the original officers was to expire in the Fall of 2004, the president appointed a nominating committee at the Spring Meeting. By the Annual Meeting in the Fall of 2004, there were no candidates for office. After a discussion of how to proceed, a consortium of three members was appointed to guide VaCCRA during the coming year including a process to “reassess, reinvent, and reorganize VaCCRA” to better serve its members.

Bishop Kern Eustler of Covenant Woods led the consortium briefly but withdrew due to illness. For similar reasons, William (Bill) Armstrong of Westminster at Lake Ridge resigned without serving, leaving Dr. Ronald Levin of Greenspring to finish the year. Under Bishop Eustler’s leadership, VaCCRA News was started as a tool for reaching a wide-spread constituency and membership grew. Dr. Levin completed two two-year terms during which it was realized that further growth was thwarted by long distances between member communities. Attempts were made to organize on a regional basis but this effort met with little success and membership dropped to six Community Members.

At the Annual Meeting in 2008, Mrs. Barbara Trezona was elected President. During her two-year term, VaCCRA Bylaws were revised, “Policies and Procedures” were established, and “Job Descriptions” were written. A web site was created and new tri-fold brochures printed. Chapters were formed at Westminster at Lake Ridge and Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads. The possibility of regional organization was reintroduced but abandoned in favor of centralization; this effort failed because suitable affordable meeting places in the Richmond area were unavailable.

Lucian (Lou) Evans of Westminster Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay, who was elected President in 2010, similarly attempted centralization but left office mid-year due to illness and was succeeded by Vice President George High of Westminster at Lake Ridge who ably led VaCCRA until the 2011 Annual Meeting when Jean Hurley, from Westminster Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay, was elected VaCCRA’s fifth president.

In 2004, a non-member had been engaged to maintain membership records in an effort to free the Membership Chairperson to focus on recruitment. In 2011, this position was elevated to a paid Administrative Assistant to the President and other officers. A new, more sophisticated brochure was produced and VaCCRA News became a slick, professional news sheet. According to a plan of her devising, Mrs. Hurley succeeded in centralizing meetings, but faced with the problem of adequate spaces, found it necessary to treat all meetings as though they were open meetings of the Board of Directors. The Spring Members Meeting was bypassed because, again, suitable affordable accommodations were lacking.

For a number of reasons, interest in VaCCRA has waxed and waned and both Associate and Community members have been lost. One of the ‘excuses’ – it is not a “reason,” it is an ‘excuse’ – is that there have been no crises in the last 5 or 6 years. During 2010, however, concerns for resident representation on Community boards of directors were brought to VaCCRA’s attention by members from Westminster Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay. And in 2012, bankruptcy of The Glebe attracted VaCCRA’s attention; Glebe residents sought help in righting their situation and seeing that legislation is passed to protect residents of CCRCs from financial loss.

In 2011 a joint bill was introduced in the Commonwealth Legislature to require at least one resident with vote be seated on a Community’s Board of Directors; this bill died in committee. However, with the help of Senator George Barker, the Continuing Care Retirement Communities Work Group, operating under the Virginia Housing Commission, is holding hearings on the management of CCRCs in Virginia with the goals of furthering understanding of the beneficial and socially desirable nature of CCRCs and of their unique service to seniors. As a result of VaCCRA’s participation in these hearings and because of Mrs. Hurley’s open meeting policy, there is renewed interest in VaCCRA and, although one Community was lost in 2011, another joined in 2012 keeping Community membership at six.

A few years ago, one of the most serious threats was the so called “bed tax.”  Officially a provider tax, this is a daily tax on nursing beds that was sponsored by commercial nursing homes and was intended to raise funds for additional Medicaid coverage. Fortunately, due to influence from VANHA and VaCCRA, this tax was not approved by the Virginia Legislature. It was, however, imposed by more than 20 states, including Maryland and the District of Columbia. It would have been devastating to Virginia continuing care retirement communities because the additional cost to CCRCs would have resulted in a steep rise in resident monthly fees. As a result of the early threat, VaCCRA members pledged to remain on alert and maintain an organization that can step in and fight any threat to CCRC welfare.

VaCCRA remains concerned about strengthening its relationship with VANHA in order to address such issues as representation on CCRC boards of directors, the regulation of non-profit retirement communities, and CCRC bankruptcies such as The Glebe recently faced. In order to extend its influence, at the 2012 Annual Members Meeting, VaCCRA members elected Peter Straub of Greenspring as President for the next two years, continued the position of paid administrative assistant, and asked the VaCCRA Board of Directors to evaluate the format and distribution of VaCCRA News. For the first time, a comprehensive report of the Fall NaCCRA (National Continuing Care Residents Association) meeting was heard. As a result, members have shown a desire to keep abreast of nationwide CCRC concerns by means of NaCCRA LifeLine and of strengthening ties with VaCCRA’s parent organization.