Thursday, April 8, 2010 | 2:47 p.m.
As president and CEO of the Nevada Health Care Association, Charles Perry is a dynamic force in the field of long-term care in the state, serving as the voice of nearly 50 non-profit and for-profit assisted living, nursing facility and sub-acute care providers who care for more than 6,000 elderly and disabled individuals statewide.
Established in 1974 as a non-profit organization representing long-term care facilities and associate members, the NHCA works with state agencies such as Nevada Medicaid and the State Health Division’s Bureau of Licensure & Certification. Having been closely affiliated with Nevada’s long-term care industry for 35 years, Perry is a natural fit in his current post, which he has held since 2000.
“My job is to be the public face of the long-term care profession here in Nevada, which includes public advocacy representing the interests of members of the profession, and also educating the public and the political establishment on who we are, what we are, and why we do the things we do the way we do them,” Perry said, adding that he also works to dispel the misinformation that shrouds the industry. “Many people think of nursing homes today as they did in the 1950s and ’60s – as a place where people went to live until they died – but they are also a relief valve for hospitals when a person reaches a stage when they need to be discharged to a lower level of care.”
Perry made his initial foray into the health care industry in 1967 in his hometown of Grenada, Miss., when he was offered the opportunity to assume the position of administrator at a long-term care, skilled nursing and retirement facility.
“I saw it as an opportunity to get into a profession on the ground floor, so I accepted the offer and that’s been the name of the tune ever since,” said Perry, who worked in similar capacities with other health care-related companies in the South before relocating to Las Vegas in 1975 to oversee operations at Vegas Valley Convalescent Center as a founding partner of Quality Care, Inc.
A tireless voice for Nevada’s long-term care and skilled nursing industry, Perry has served in numerous capacities with the Nevada Health Care Association since its inception in 1974 – including past president and chair of the government affairs committee – and has also been active with the American Health Care Association.
A major advocate of capitalizing and retaining Medicaid payment rates and keeping the budget intact, Perry is politically savvy and served as an assemblyman in the Nevada Legislature in the regular session in 1983 and in the 1984 special session. He recently met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Washington, D.C., to address the issues facing the long-term care industry and the trickle down-effect that budget cuts in that industry will have on Nevada’s entire health care system.
“We try to work with the regulatory agencies to maintain collaborative and cooperative relationships with them,” Perry said. “We also work with the Legislature so they understand our needs.”