chart and stethoscope

Jason Lee, the new CEO of the Home Care Association of America, is eyeing 2050 — when the number of older adults is expected to explode across the world — as a “tipping point” and a critical year for the organization of home care providers. 

“To be prepared for that moment, we have to evolve. We have to be ready,” Lee said during the HCAOA’s business update on Tuesday, the last date of the annual conference in Chicago. 

He noted that the association has to become more nimble and cutting-edge even as it retains its core mission and values. He pointed out four resources that will help the association leading up to 2050. These are the association’s strategic plan, Home Care Workforce Crisis report, Industry at a Crossroads report and an advocacy report.

During the presentation, Lee and other leaders took stock of the association’s accomplishments during this last year. Among these are a record attendance at Chicago’s show. A total of 680 people — including attendees and exhibitors — were in attendance, according to Nicole Rexer, HCAOA’s marketing and communications director.

“This conference has broken all records,”  Jennifer Battista, chief operating officer of HCAOA, said during the business presentation. “It’s been our most successful conference to date; record number of attendance, record number of exhibitors, and we saw a 40% increase in attendee registration, which I think means we’re doing something right.”

She also praised the organization’s members for their strong engagement and advocacy during the last year, which brought successes like HCAOA’s largest advocacy day at the nation’s capital to date and an encouraging rescoring of the Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act.

As it moves forward to tackle new initiatives, the association is in good financial standing, according to Lee. He highlighted a recent financial audit that found HCAOA to be well-positioned to tackle its future action items, such as a push for greater diversity, equity and inclusion in the home care industry. In his remarks, he made his appreciation known to the community.

“Thank you for what you do. Thank you for providing comfort to those in need. That’s something that the world desperately, desperately needs right now,”  he said to the home care providers gathered. “Please remember the intrinsic nobility of home care and that you are the rare profession, where you can proudly claim that you are making a difference.”

As part of the business meeting agenda, Lee recognized Jeff Wiberg for his work as chair of HCAOA’s board of directors during the past year, and gave a shoutout to Margaret Haynes, president and CEO of senior care provider Right at Home, who will be next to hold the mantle. Finally, HCAOA presented its Caregiver of the Year award. Eulodia Ortiz, a New Jersey-based Visiting Angels caregiver, was praised for her extraordinary dedication, resilience and concern for her clients and coworkers.

“Being a caregiver is not a job, it is a calling. It requires compassion, empathy and a genuine desire to make a positive difference in someone’s life,” Ortiz said to the cheering crowd. “Each day, I have the privilege of providing care, support and comfort to those who need it most. It is a responsibility that I do not take lightly.”

Clarification: This story has been updated to reflect the number of attendees and exhibitors at the conference.