Great Plains Senior Services Collaborative 2019 Training Conference

September 30, 2019

Lutheran Services in America will convene the Great Plains Senior Services Collaborative for a training conference this fall at the Chico Hot Springs Resort in Chico, Montana. The dates for the event are September 30-October 2. Background:  Older adults in rural communities experience poorer health, higher poverty rates and have limited access to community-based programs. The Great Plains Collaborative provides services and supports to underserved rural older adults in Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana. The Collaborative’s programs help vulnerable seniors maintain their independence, remain in their homes and communities, and live with purpose and meaning. This goal of this conference is to provide a training, networking and teambuilding experience that equips Great Plains Collaborative program staff with new skills and tools to improve service delivery. Potential training content includes:
  • LSA SeniorConnect, a new LSA health care product which helps seniors stay healthy and independent
  • Service coordination
  • Program marketing
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Program sustainability
  • Simply Connect, a software solution for client tracking and care coordination
For more information about this event, please contact David Zauche at

Webinar Series: Accreditation

October 8, 2019

Lutheran Services in America is pleased to announce our fall webinar series on accreditation featuring all three major accreditation organizations. Calendar invitations to all three are linked below. Click to add each webinar to your Outlook calendar. If your organization is not currently accredited, or if you are interested in exploring your accreditation options, join us for this webinar series where you will have the opportunity to:
  • Understand the role the accreditation plays in the implementation of the Family First Act and Qualified Residential Treatment Programs (QRTPs),
  • Learn about the value of accreditation to organizations,
  • Understand the accreditation process and associated costs, and
  • Engage in a Q&A session with knowledgeable accreditation experts.
Please contact Sheila Weber at or 202-499-5824 if you have any questions.  

Webinar: Strategies to Control Health Care Costs

October 23, 2019

Learn how two social ministry organizations are successfully reducing growth in employee health benefit costs, increasing employee satisfaction, and stabilizing fluctuations in health plan spending. Reier Thompson, President & CEO of Missouri Slope Lutheran Care Center, and Ray Ratke, President & CEO of Lutheran Family Services of Virginia, will discuss how they assessed their health plan needs, evaluated potential options and decided to partner with Portico Benefit Services to provide innovative solutions to their health benefit needs. This teleconference, set for 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EDT on October 23, is exclusively for Lutheran Services in America CEOs and leaders in finance and human resources. RegisterNow_CEO            

2019 Member Reception at LeadingAge Meeting + Expo

October 27, 2019

Join us for a special Lutheran Services in America member reception during the 2019 LeadingAge Annual Meeting & Expo. When: 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. on October 27, 2019 Where: Indigo 206, Hilton San Diego Bayfront RSVP today for the opportunity to network with your colleagues from the senior services world and fellow members of the Lutheran Services in America network from across the country.  

Meet Our Panelists at LeadingAge

Representatives from Lutheran Services in America member organizations will speak at the 2019 LeadingAge Annual Meeting and Expo.
  • Gregory Poole-Dayan, COO, Wartburg
  • Amanda Young, Director, Lutheran Homes of South Carolina, Inc.
  • Kay Weidner, Vice President of Quality, SpiriTrust Lutheran
  • Jonathan Golm, President, WeCare Connect a subsidiary of Wellspring Lutheran
  • Jennifer Rautzhan, Vice President for Human Resources Services, Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries
  • Marysue Moses, Dimensions Program Coordinator, Ebenezer Management Services
  • Mary Jo Zeller, Director, MySolutions, The Arlington in Naples - a Lutheran Life Community
  • Keith Frndak, President & CEO, Concordia Lutheran Ministries
  • Christie Hinrichs, President & CEO, Tabitha Health Care Services
  • Julie Davis, Marketing Director, Concordia Life Care Community
  • Larry Bradshaw, CEO, National Lutheran Communities & Services
 The 2019 LeadingAge Annual Meeting & Expo member reception is made possible through a generous gift from Ziegler.

Webinar: COA Town Hall Meeting

November 5, 2019

Join the new President and CEO for the Council on Accreditation (COA) for a special town hall meeting with Lutheran Services in America members. Levinson-Johnson will share the vision for COA and their upcoming plans for 2020. For the 24 members of the Lutheran Services in America network accredited by COA, this is an event you won’t want to miss! Click here for information on how to access this event. Date: November 5, 2019 Time: 1 to 3 p.m. ET Jody Levison-Johnson, LCSW-C is the President and CEO at the Council on Accreditation. She is a licensed clinical social worker with over 20 years of experience in the field of human services. Prior to joining COA, she served as the Assistant Vice President of Practice Improvement at the National Council for Behavioral Health, where she oversaw the organization’s consulting portfolio and a large, privately funded adolescent mental health initiative. Before that, she was the Chief Clinical Officer for Choices Coordinated Care Solutions, a children's care management organization. There, she handled all program operations, as well as service and business development activities. From 2011 to 2014, Jody served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Louisiana Office of Behavioral Health, where she managed publicly funded behavioral health services, including the statewide public sector managed care efforts. Using wraparound and managed care technologies, she led the implementation of the Coordinated System of Care for children/youth at greatest risk. Prior to working in Louisiana, Jody was the Vice President of Coordinated Care Services, Inc. (CCSI), a non-profit management and consulting services organization. where she had oversight of all of CCSI's service quality, system development and evaluation activities. In short, Jody has driven several cross-system initiatives focused on residential reform and the enhancement of the community-based service array for children, youth, families. She has extensive knowledge in leadership, organizational change, public sector behavioral health, strategic and sustainability planning, service and program reform, and managed care implementation and operations.

Hot Topics in Federal Policy

November 19, 2019

A Discussion with Lutheran Services in America

Please join the Lutheran Services in America public policy team and your fellow members for an update and discussion of the current hot topics in federal policy and what that means for you. This is part of a recurring series of calls.
  • 1–1:30 p.m. EST on Tuesday, November 19, 2019
  • An agenda and dial-in information will be circulated to those who have submitted RSVPs. Additional details to come.
Scheduled to join the Lutheran Services in America public policy team as a guest speaker this month is a senior Senate Finance Committee advisor on health policy: Anne Dwyer, Senior Health Counsel to Ranking Member (senior Democrat) Ron Wyden (D-Oregon). Anne plans to update us on the work her boss is doing that will directly impact you and your organization in the following areas:
  • Any possible Congressional action related to federal approval of Medicaid “block grant” waivers to states that would cut or cap funding for the program
  • Congressional action supporting recruitment, retention and development in the workforce of direct care professionals
  • Medicaid provider reimbursement rates
If you have any questions, please contact Sarah Dobson, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, at or 202-499-5832.

Preserving the Not-for-profit Legacy in Senior Living

May 12, 2021

A new wave of complexity is hitting the senior living & care sector. More Americans are entering retirement than ever before, but economic pressures from the pandemic and increasing complexity of the care for seniors are driving many nonprofit senior services providers to either affiliate or undergo acquisition with private sector companies. Many not-for-profits are taking a hard look at their long-term viability as they reconcile their extensive history of caregiving, vast industry knowledge, deep connection to the community, and mission-driven culture with the goals of remaining competitive, relevant and financially sound. During this webinar, Ziegler will talk about trends in the not-for-profit senior living & care sector and will highlight what providers need to consider as they look to preserve their Lutheran heritage and not-for-profit spirit.

This is not the first time that the nonprofit senior living industry has had to combat change. Lutheran social ministry organizations alone have provided health and human services in the U.S. for roughly 150 years and shown tremendous resilience in times of great social and economic upheaval. They have also become leaders in all-encompassing care, including independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing, long-term care, memory support, and home and community-based services.

Please join us for this data-driven and motivational presentation from Ziegler on how to move forward to ensure perpetuity of your not-for-profit and Lutheran-based heritage, whether as an independent organization or in partnership with another. Ziegler will also share what newly combined organizations — not-for-profit and private — can each learn from the other to ensure success in our changing world.

Featured Speakers

  • Dan Hermann, President & CEO
  • Lisa McCracken, Director of Senior Living Research and Development

By the (Hand)book — Staying Compliant in a Changing Environment

August 17, 2021

Handbooks, policies and forms . . . oh my! In 2020, many organizations had to quickly adapt to working remotely, and keep up with rapidly changing new health and safety requirements. Even though the dust seems to have settled a little and we are trending back towards some normalcy (knock on wood) it is not yet time to ease up if you are responsible for your organization’s handbook or policies. With these changing work environments coupled with new legislation, your handbook may be (probably is) outdated. There are over 50 new laws that took effect July 1 alone that impact 20 different states. How can you keep up? How do you know if your handbook is compliant for federal, state and local laws? Join us for a webinar to discuss handbooks where we will:
  • Share best practices on updating your handbook
  • Discuss key employment areas to review or create
  • Provide guidance for returning to the office or considerations for remaining remote
  • Give an overview of the online HR Support Center
  • Share how you can stay up to date with legislative changes

Featured Speakers

  • Beth Jones, Director of Ministry Solutions at Concordia Plans
Beth Jones is a Human Resources professional with over 15 years of progressive human resources experience. She has experience in a variety of industries, including education, health insurance, financial services and nonprofits. She has led teams, consulted and provided services to employers of all sizes from large Fortune 100 or 500 employers to small nonprofits and for a wide range of HR disciplines including workforce relations and planning, culture and engagement, compensation and benefits, reward and recognition, payroll, and training and development. As an active SHRM member, Beth has found it rewarding to mentor and guide new HR professionals entering the field and has volunteered her time and skills to help small nonprofits with HR issues. As she is most passionate about serving nonprofits, she finds her current position as Director of Ministry Solutions at Concordia Plans fulfilling as she gets to focus exclusively on helping nonprofit ministries obtain affordable products and services that ease administrative burden, help nonprofit ministries focus on their missions, and reduce employer risk. Current solutions available to some ministries include: HR, payroll and compensation services.

Innovations Looking Forward: What Worked and What Is Here to Stay in Senior Services

July 21, 2021

Senior living providers embraced new strategies and tools to keep residents, their families, and the workforce safe, healthy, and happy during the sudden onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many new engagement technology, communication strategies, and workforce strategies evolved out of necessity and have become the “new normal” in day-to-day senior living operations. While the feeling of crisis mode has begun to subside or slow down, what do senior living leaders think are the tools and strategies that are here to stay beyond the pandemic? How will leaders continue to think differently and more strategically — what considerations should be made moving forward? During this webinar, Dave Gehm, President and CEO of Wellspring Lutheran, and Sloan Bentley, President and CEO of Lutheran Life Communities, will discuss with Jack York, Cofounder of IN2L, the innovative strategies that their teams adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic and what they think will remain part of the norm of senior services in the future.

Featured Speakers

  • Dave Gehm, President & CEO of Wellspring Lutheran Services
  • Sloan Bently, President & CEO of Lutheran Life Communities

Cyber Attacks: Are You at Risk?

July 15, 2021

It is predicted that a business is being hit by ransomware every 11 seconds in 2021, and that it results on average 16–19 days of downtime. Join this session to learn about cyber risk management, the latest trends, including the role and important considerations around cyber insurance coverage and top cybersecurity best practices you should be implementing.

Featured Speakers

  • Rafael Haciski, Vice President at Johnson, Kendall & Johnson
  • Alexandra Bretschneider, Cyber Practice Leader at Johnson, Kendall & Johnson