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LTC Article Disappoints

Letter to the Editor
by William E. Comfort
As published in National Underwriter
February 26, 2001 issue

To The Editor:

I read with interest and disappointment Linda Koco’s article, “HIAA and AALTCI Will Co-Sponsor LTC Designation” (January 29, 2001, p.10).

I did not care for the tone of the “press release” comments that suggest there is not any significant LTC training available today and that what is being offered is motivated only by “profit.”

I guess yet another professional LTC designation is a natural progression of our market-driven system, but just because our own lobbying and advocacy groups are "not-for-profit" doesn’t mean they are not defending their own viability and seeking training revenue just as aggressively as a for-profit “commercial vendor.”  I am in this business for profit and so are the carriers I represent.

NU should have shown a bit more editorial independence by mentioning the Corporation for Long-Term Care Certification’s CLTC designation and the Society of Certified Senior Advisors’ CSA designation, by seeking reaction from these already-active, high-quality designation organizations, and by more aggressively questioning HIAA and AALTCI about their entrance into an area that is already seeing significant competition for agents’ attention.

While not offering a designation, another glaring exclusion is Phyllis Shelton’s LTC Consultants that has been training LTCi agents successfully and consistently since 1994 -- longer than either of the currently active designation organizations.  I have attended several of LTC Consultants’ two and three-day training and sales workshops. I am currently enrolled in both the CSA and CLTC programs.  I have found the material from all of the companies to be excellent and well worth the time and cost.

In addition, the developers and promoters of all these LTC training and designation programs bring the highest sense of duty and commitment to the LTCi market, its agents and by extension the clients those agents will represent.

I personally took offense as well. My company (as well as most other LTCi specialty agencies) put a large emphasis on training. In 2000 I personally trained more than 300 agents who attended our monthly, four-hour, CE-accredited education and sales and marketing “LTC bootcamp.”  While not a multi-day or many-hour designation curriculum, these in-the-trenches training efforts are the starting point for most agents getting a start in LTCi sales.  And they lay the foundation for successful sales as well as the pursuit of additional education and professional designations.

I will welcome the new designation heartily, and I am confident that it will raise the bar on the quality and quantity of LTCi training. But it is wrong to promote the idea that current training efforts and designations are self-serving and lacking in quality, substance or accessibility.

Sincerely,

William E. Comfort
The LTCpro
VP Training & Development
Eldercare Resource Group, Inc.
St. Louis, MO

Editorial Comment: The author of the letter has now passed both the CLTC and CSA designations.

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