[NOVEMBER 2018] Nominate your peers for recognition!

ACHCA NY Chapter is soliciting nominations for the following award recognitions:
The Ralph Barron Award – Our Past President and Region II Governor, the late Ralph J. Barron, Jr., felt that education and professional growth of the long-term care administrator were very important. In his memory, the New York Chapter has created the Ralph J. Barron, Jr. Scholarship Fund. The fund has a singular objective: to help underwrite the cost of education of new members to our profession and college chapter. Each year, the New York Chapter will award $1,000 in scholarship grants.
For the purposes of this fund, a scholarship means a financial award to help a student of a bona fide academic institution continue (proactive) his/her studies in the field of health care administration. A grant means a financial award to an individual to underwrite the cost of furthering his/her knowledge in the profession of health care administration. This distinction is made to allow for funding of knowledge enhancing projects that are not part of traditional academic programs, e.g. seminars, conferences, research activities, etc.
Eligibility Requirements
Individuals who wish to apply for each year must:
1.       Be enrolled in an AIT program by January of the award year or be enrolled in a recognized university/college training program for health care administration.
Nomination Requirements
Application can be made by sending a letter of support outlining the name of the individual and giving reasons why they meet the above criteria and definitions.
Administrator of the Year Award – The purpose of this award is to recognize a Fellow of ACHCA who has demonstrated the highest professional standards as an administrator in post-acute and aging services, specifically, the nursing home setting.
Eligibility Requirements
·        Currently licensed nursing home administrator
·        ACHCA Member in good standing
·        A leader in post-acute and aging services for at least five years
Nomination Requirements
 Submit two letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation must include the writer’s name, address, phone number, e-mail, and the name of the nominee. The nominator’s letter must address these questions:
·        How has the nominee improved the health and welfare of residents in the nursing home setting?
·        How has the nominee contributed to, or set an example for, post-acute and aging services leadership?
·        What outstanding accomplishments have been achieved by the nominee in the field of nursing home administration?
·        Why is the nominee deserving of this award?
New Administrator of the Year Award – The purpose of this award is to recognize a ACHCA Member – licensed five years or less – who has demonstrated the highest professional standards as an administrator in post-acute and aging services, specifically, the nursing home setting. See the Administrator of the year requirements for further information and nominations.
The deadline for nominations is January 1, 2019.

NYACHCA 2019 Convention Survey Results

The March 2018 Convention was to be our last convention to be held at the Villa Roma. Since the new hotel/casino in the Catskills is proving not to be an option, the Convention Committee has been given the authority by the Executive Committee to seek out other venue options.
For our 50th Year Anniversary Convention in 2019, we would like to have a great event and a great turnout. Therefore, we have location alternatives as follows:
  • ​We can attempt to partner with New York State Health Facilities Association (NYSHFA) at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, NY (April of 2019)
  • ​We can hold the convention in New York City, where the costs would be similar to those at Turning Stone (March 2019)
  • ​We can hold our convention in Albany, NY (March 2019)
  • ​We can return to Villa Roma
To this end, we have devised this survey to get input from our members and exhibitors. Before beginning the quick survey, please keep in mind:
  • ​The registration cost, which was traditionally between $149.00 and $199.00 will now be in the $400.00 – $500.00 range. Costs that had formerly been included such as coffee breaks, continental breakfast, etc. will need to be figured into the registration fee.
  • ​Hotel room cost will be around $150.00 – $300.00 per night
  • ​There will be no nightly entertainment provided by the Chapter.


The results of our last survey indicated that New York City was the site chosen by our membership as the preferred location for our annual convention.
The Events Planning Committee has been following up on the survey results by researching the feasibility of holding the convention in NYC.


Thank you to all who participated in our surveys. Your opinion matters and our decisions regarding the conference were based on YOUR preferences!

Looking forward to the 2019 NYACHCA Convention. See you there!

Keith Chambery, FACHCA, NY Chapter President

What is the Cultural Diversity Endowment Fund?

On behalf of the New York Chapter of the American College of Health Care Administrators Academy of Long Term Care Leadership and Development, we are asking you to join us in our fundraising efforts for the Sister Joan Cassidy and Michael Cuseo Cultural Diversity Endowment.

The Cultural Diversity Endowment Fund (CDEF) is a perpetual endowment instrument of the ACHCA-NY Chapter. This endowment fund will reach out to culturally diverse groups in an effort to increase their involvement and active participation in ACHCA. Cultural Diversity involves including new administrators and individuals of diverse backgrounds, particularly minorites who are under- represented in long term care administration. The fund has the following specific objectives:

1. To recruit new members to ACHCA from a broad range of culturally diverse groups
2. To support the education and professional development of new members in the College and the health care administration profession
3. To promote increased attendance at the annual conventions/convocations of ACHCA.

The fund endeavors to commemorate the loss of our beloved member, Sister Joan Cassidy, CNHA, FACHCA, who passed away on October 15, 1998 after a long and courageous battle with cancer. She was a member of the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, Halifax. Loved by all who knew her, she was well respected in the long-term care world. She embodied the highest moral qualities and brought a level of professionalism and ethics to ACHCA on both a state and national level.

Michael Cuseo was instrumental in establishing Chem Rx as the premiere Long-Term Care pharmacy in New York. He generously devoted his time, talents and professional efforts as Chem Rx’s Supervising Pharmacist for over thirty years. Michael took a deep interest in the pharmaceutical aspects of the nursing home industry, but more importantly, will be remembered for his warm personality and infectious sense of humor. All who were fortunate enough to make his acquaintance, will fondly remember Michael.

In 1998, the American College of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA) granted the first award from the Sister Joan Cassidy Endowment Fund. In 2007, the New York Chapter of ACHCA proposed to honor Michael Cuseo of Chem Rx and to change the name of the fund to the Sister Joan Cassidy and Michael Cuseo Cultural Endowment Fund.

The President’s Award, presented annually at this event, is the most prestigious honor that the New York Chapter of the American College of Health Care Administrators bestows to individuals who represent the ideals and mission of the College, and the integrity, and cultural diversity as defined by Sr. Joan Cassidy and Michael Cuseo through their leadership and dedication on to the College. It is with that in mind that we will be honoring Joseph Peixoto of Procare LTC Pharmacy.

There will also be a special presentation to Sr.Audrey Harsen of Our Lady of Consola on Nursing and Rehabilitative Care Center who will receive the Chapter’s Distinguished Service Award for over forty years of service to the New York Membership. Her dedication and sincerity to our mission and ideals has created a path for all to follow.

We look forward to seeing all of our friends and associates at this worthwhile event.

“Administrative Leadership”: An Admin’s Journey to the NYACHCA


By  Christina L.

My preceptor first introduced me to the American College of Healthcare Executives while I was an Administrator in Training.  He suggested that I take a look at the website to get a better understanding of what the organization is all about and what it has to offer.  I noticed that the ACHCA is a non-profit professional membership association dedicated to administrative leadership and excellence in post-acute and aging services care across the spectrum of health care services.  The term “Administrative Leadership” resonated with me.

I wanted to join an organization that believed in creating leaders. I was eager to see what this administrative leadership was all about and how it can help me personally and through my professional career. In my short time being apart of the college I was able to attend educational seminars led by some reputable individuals such as Nurses, Pharmacist and State representatives.  I left all of these seminars not only inspired, but also with an increased curiosity.

The administrators introduced themselves and gave their experiences whether these experiences were good or bad. Regardless of their experiences, they all shared something in common; they love what they do and love impacting lives on a daily basis.  

I was able to attend the National Convention in Orlando, which was unlike any experience that I have ever had.  I met with Administrators from all over the United States and once again got to take in their experiences as healthcare professionals. Although Villa Roma and Convention were two similar experiences, I met some seasoned Administrators who not only offered the advice and guidance but people who truly believed in the mission of the college.

I left my first year of conferences not only feeling like I knew more than I did but I also felt inspired by these individuals who want to make a difference in this world.  ACHCA offers not only offers educational seminars, but also the endless networking events and the great feeling of having people who share the same passion for this industry  

Do You Know Me?


By Barbara Speedling, Quality of Life Specialist


Do you know me?   This is often the first question a resident with dementia will ask me during an interview. When I’m asked to evaluate a resident, I don’t know much about the person beyond what I’ve been told by caregivers or read in the medical record.  Until I sit down and talk with the resident, I have little more than a superficial understanding of what might be motivating the behavior the staff finds challenging.

While there are many aspects of communal living that the average adult would find annoying – like being restricted from moving about freely, going outside, taking a nap when you feel like it, eating whatever and whenever you want, sharing a room with a stranger, and the noise and overcrowding similar to what you might experience on a New York City subway at rush hour – what would otherwise be interpreted as a normal reaction to being limited is seen as abnormal and worthy of psychiatric intervention in the person with dementia.

In some cases, the behavior I’m asked to assess is nothing more than a personality exaggerated by dementia.  For example, a man who has been the head of his household, a business owner, described by family as a “man’s man,” who loves hunting, fishing, playing poker, and watching football with his buddies, is likely to be loud and in charge.  So, his yelling and attempts to tell others what to do is not behavior, but a man with dementia who is doing what he has always done. He just doesn’t fully understand that the circumstances have changed.

Understanding personality, or personhood, is the first and most important step to unraveling the motivation for a person’s behavior. Thomas Kitwood (1997) defines personhood as “a standing or status that is bestowed upon one human being by others in the context of particular social relationships and institutional arrangements” [1] 

In other words, our personhood is shaped by our relationships and interactions in the world over a lifetime. Dementia slowly erodes the memory of these things, but not all at once or in a predictable pattern. It is common for people to experience varying degrees of memory and understanding over the progression of the disease, but retain a sense of self-awareness even in the later stages of decline.

A study published by the National Institutes of Health asserts that failure to recognize the continuing awareness of self and the human experience of the person in the middle and late stages (of dementia) can lead to task-oriented care and low expectations for therapeutic interventions. [2]

Looking more closely at personhood will help caregivers to more successfully anticipate a resident’s needs and reactions. If it is known that you have always been extremely modest, the staff should anticipate that you will not feel comfortable being naked in front of a stranger.  They can then work to identify a way to incorporate this knowledge into your care plan.

There have been many times in my experience when learning something pivotal about the resident opens a new school of thought on why he is doing what he is doing. The is the common example of the resident who is a night-wanderer, going door to door, disturbing other residents. When it is learned that he was a night watchman in an office building, his behavior is understood and can be accommodated.

If you are going to understand why someone is doing what they are doing, you have to know who you are looking at. The assessment process common to most long term care environments fails to look deeply enough at personhood. Expand that process to include questions about how the person feels, his perception on the current circumstance, how much he knows about his diagnosis, and his feelings about his declining memory and need for a supervised environment.

In a study on self-awareness, it was found that people with dementia who had supportive family or caregivers retained their personhood more successfully. [3] So, person-centered begins with a more thorough assessment of the person now that dementia has begun to chip away at the very core of his being.

Look closer. Look beyond the diagnosis and recent medical history to who he was and how he is coping with who he is now. Learn as much as you can to help him hold on to the last shreds of his personhood. If you can do that, you’ll be surprised at how simple it might be to figure out why someone is doing what he is doing.


[1] Kitwood, T. Dementia Reconsidered: The Person Comes First; Open University Press: Buckingham, UK, 1997.

[2] Tappen, R; Williams, C; Fishman, S; Touhy, T.; Persistence of Self in Advanced Alzheimer’s Disease, National Institutes of Health, Image J Nurs Sch. 1999; 31(2): 121–125.

[3]  MacRae, H. Managing Identity While Living with Alzheimer’s Disease. Qual. Health Res. 2010, 20, 293–305.


Living in Retrograde

By Barbara Speedling, Quality of Life Specialist

A friend and I were having dinner at a rather expensive steakhouse recently.  We were both celebrating an event, so we decided to splurge. As we were enjoying our pricey steaks, I said, “You know, Judy, twenty years ago we thought the steaks at the diner were really good.  Today, we would never order a steak in the diner!” We agreed that what would have passed for satisfying two or three decades ago, will no longer be satisfying since we’ve experienced something we enjoy more.


How easy is it to go backwards in your life?  I can remember having no furniture beyond a mattress on the floor, some milk crates borrowed from the local grocery store that I used creatively as seats and book shelves, and eating macaroni and cheese several nights a week because it sold for 25¢ a box.  I could return to that time in my life when I had nothing, if I had to, but I wouldn’t be happy or satisfied.


One of the first things I want to understand about someone I’m asked to interview is how far back he’s had to go.  How he’s lived and worked, what he’s accomplished, and how strong his ego is are just the first of many things I want to know about him and his lifestyle.  Understanding the level of success and independence he’s achieved will provide great insight into how he might respond now in the face of dependency.


During a recent conference for social workers in Maine, I asked my audience if they thought giving up everything you’ve worked for and everything that defines you to move into a nursing home is a traumatic experience?  Many said they would consider it a difficult experience, but had not identified it as traumatic. I offered that it is likely one of the most traumatic things a person could experience – equal, perhaps, to having to declare bankruptcy or becoming homeless.  Assessing behavioral health from this perspective puts an entirely different spin on person-centered care.


As a member of the Baby Boomer generation, I can speak personally about living in retrograde.  Having worked in long-term care for the better part of my adult life, I am already acutely aware of what I will have to give up to live in a nursing home. I currently answer to no one.  Without a doubt, I will not respond well to being directed. I love time alone and having privacy. I will not want a roommate. I am obsessive about order and symmetry. I will not want you to rearrange my things. I like variety and thrive on change and new experiences.  I will not tolerate the same routine day in and day out without agitation. I have trouble sitting still and that will be the biggest adjustment.


I believe that person-centered care means that you must explore ego, lifestyle, occupation, and achievement closely as the first step to understanding someone’s behavior.  How disease and disability impact the person now has to come next. Considering the move to a long-term care environment to be a traumatic event is the final step in developing an improved awareness and anticipation of where to begin a realistic plan for this person’s care.


NYACHCA: An Award-Winning Chapter

At the ACHCA National Convention in Orlando, the New York Chapter was recognized for it’s work with the Sister Joan Cassidy and Michael Cuseo fundraising to support cultural diversity and membership. On April 24th, the Chapter was presented with the pictured award at the annual Awards Celebration luncheon. Keith Chambery, President of the New York Chapter accepted the award on behalf of the Chapter. It was especially fitting that Christina Lagurre, AIT at Northern Manhattan Rehabilitation and Nursing Center was able to attend the convention because of the Sister Joan and Michael Cuseo fund.


This year The Sister Joan Cassidy and Michael Cuseo event will be held on June 14, 2018 at Leonard’s of Great Neck. We will be honoring Joseph Peixoto, Procare LTC and Sister Audry Harsen of Catholic Health Services. Joe has been a great supporter of the College throughout his career. Sister Audry was a peer and one of Sister Joan’s closest friends. We hope you will contribute to help keep the tradition of the Chapter alive and support the diversity fund.


The success of the New York Chapter is very much linked to the support that the Chapter receives from the vendor community. Support for the annual convention assists the Chapter with it’s day to day mission and expenses of conducting the business of the Chapter. Support for the Sister Joan and Michael Cuseo diversity fund are specifically for that purpose and physically segregated from anything else that the Chapter does. It is for that reason, and reflecting on that great support that the Chapter wanted to use the advertising space it had purchased from the National Association to once again recognize those companies to the National audiance as a key ingredient to our success.


New York Chapter Receives ACHCA Chapter Achievement Award

Washington, D. C. – April 25, 2018  – The American College of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA) is proud to recognize the New York Chapter of ACHCA as a 2018 recipient of the ACHCA Chapter Achievement Award.  The award was presented during the awards ceremony at ACHCA’s Annual Convocation and Exposition in Orlando Florida on April 24, 2018.

The prestigious Chapter Achievement Award recognizes a project developed by an ACHCA Chapter to address a member need or chapter objective.  Each year, the New York Chapter works to raise funds for the Sister Joan Cassidy and Michael Cuseo Ethnic Diversity Fund. The ACHCA New York Chapter designed this fund to increase the involvement and participation of culturally diverse groups across the nation in ACHCA – and to assist students.  ACHCA was pleased to present them with the Chapter Achievement Award in recognition of their accomplishment of hosting fund raising events to maintain an ongoing scholarship dedicated to increasing diversity within geriatrics and long-term care.


Founded in 1962 the American College of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA) is the only professional association devoted solely to meeting the professional needs of today’s post-acute and aging services leaders. Focused on advancing leadership excellence, ACHCA provides professional education and certification to administrators from across the spectrum of long term care. For more information about ACHCA, contact the national office at (800) 561-3148 or visit www.achca.org.

Read James V. Donofrio’s “Administrator of the Year” Acceptance Speech

James Donofrio accepting the award from Caroline Rich, our VP and Awards Committee Chair.

“My name is James V. Donofrio and I am the Administrator of Record for The Avon Nursing Home located in Avon, NY. I firstly wanted to take a moment to thank Keith Chambery and the entire NY Chapters Executive Committee. I am truly thankful for this recognition and will keep this special award with me for a very long time. I also wanted to take a moment to congratulate Jay and Mark on their achievement awards.

So, a little background of my career. In high school I was in need of volunteer hours for high school graduation. I received the opportunity to fulfill my hours at a local nursing home. I completed my hours at The Highlands Living Center in Pittsford, NY.

After graduation and completing my hours, I was offered a part time position as a frontline staff member within the same department, in which I volunteered in. It was a wonderful opportunity for me, as I was able to work in the field I quickly grew to love in the very short time and knew this was the career for me.

I worked at The Highlands throughout all my four years of my undergraduate years and shortly after graduating with my Bachelors in Healthcare Administration I took a position as an Assistant Administrator at The Hurlbut Nursing Home in Brighton, NY. Shortly after the new position, I enrolled in a Master’s Program for Healthcare Administration. I completed this program during my time as Assistant Administrator.

Two years later, I completed my program, sat for my Nursing Home Administrator test, passed and was offered a Nursing Home Administrator position for both Avon Nursing Home and Wedgewood Nursing Home, with the same Corporation, Hurlbut Care Communities.

In my one year as a Nursing Home Administrator, I have had the pleasure of going through two New York State Surveys and one federal look behind survey. I have learned a great deal within the last year and I look forward to all the endeavors to come.

The College has been a wonderful resource thus far in my career and I look forward to a bonding relationship for the future to come.”

– James Donofrio, MSHA, LNHA

ACHCA NY Chapter Stays in Touch

March 2018What’s going on with the American College of Health Care Administrators New York Chapter (ACHCA-NYC)? It’s a question that the current executive committee gave some serious thought to over the last several months. During the Annual Convention held March 11 through 14, 2018 and immediately following, the Executive Committee answered that question. The answer was simpler than you might think. It was staring everyone in the face all along and no one recognized it. The answer is that, ‘What’s going on with the ACHCA-NYC’ should be a question that you can answer for yourself easily with commonly used online tools and social media. With that in mind, the Executive Committee has set out to give anyone those tools.

For example, when things are happening now – at the annual convention or National, an education session, a Board or committee meeting – we have a Twitter account at @ACHCA_NY. We will use this social media platform to communicate things that are happening as they happen. If you use Twitter we encourage you to follow us. When the information is a bit more static, for example an event planned for the Chapter for the future, a news story that has already been published, or an event that a member has shared as a source of pride or triumph, ACHCA-NYC has a Facebook account at @ACHCANYC (or search for American College of Health Care Administrators and all the Chapters will pop-up). Finally, the Chapter has the old tried and true, old school website, NYCACHCA.com.

That all sounds great, anyone can check in, but what good does it do if the content isn’t interesting to the membership? Enter the idea of the Town Hall Meeting. At the Town Hall meeting there will be information shared with the membership from the Executive Committee prospective but the real emphasis will be to hear from the members. ACHCA is a volunteer organization and, yes, it needs volunteers. what interests you, what do you have a passion to work on with others who share your interest? Maybe it is an existing committee, a dormant committee, or something that ACHCA-NYC is even currently doing. More than anything else, this format is constructed to hear from you.

The target date for the meeting is the first week in May 2018 so that we can share any information from the National convention that may be pertinent.