New AMDA President: Commitment, Clear Goals, Cautious Optimism…and Canines

March 26, 2021


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Karl Steinberg, MD, CMD, is honored to be 2021-2022 AMDA president. While he looks forward to leading the organization in a post-pandemic world, he is aware that new challenges await as the pandemic winds down. He says, “While I am careful about breathing a sigh of relief, I am cautiously optimistic about the future.”

As he steps into his new responsibility, he is proud of the leadership role AMDA has taken in the past year. “We’ve been on the front lines and proactive about providing information, education, and resources. We have a good working relationship with CMS and I hope to continue to build on that.”  Moving forward, he says, “This is a good time to make some regulatory, structural, and other improvements.” He is optimistic that CMS will finally establish the medical director registry that AMDA has been advocating for. “This is an important step to enable people to know who medical directors are and what they do. I hope there will be increasing attention to the role of medical directors as clinical leaders. We have seen time and again—and certainly during a crisis—that an engaged medical director is a valuable resource.”

While the pandemic will continue to require AMDA’s attention in the coming months, Dr. Steinberg also looks forward to focusing on other issues as well. For instance, he says, “We’ll be working on putting together some tangible action items on equity issues, involving a wide variety of stakeholders.” He adds, “We have the ear of many people who can get things done, and we want to leverage this to make sure these issues, and our Society’s work, stay on the radar.”

Innovation is on Dr. Steinberg’s mind, and he is excited about efforts such as the new AMDA App. “This is a great way to get our name and brand out there. I hope that many people will download it and appreciate the full value of everything AMDA has to offer,” he says. He adds, “We have a great board, and I look forward to doing important work with this inspiring group. I am optimistic that we will accomplish much in the coming months.”

As former editor-in-chief of Caring for the Ages, AMDA’s popular news publication, Dr. Steinberg brings a unique perspective to the presidency. He says, “That role really helped prepare me to be AMDA president. It rounded out my knowledge of everything that is happening in the post-acute and long-term care sector. I was able to interact with many of the practitioners who wrote columns and articles, and I gained tremendous insight into various viewpoints, opinions, and experiences.” He notes, “Beth [Galik] is doing a great job with Caring, and I still read it cover to cover.”

Of course, anyone who knows Dr. Steinberg realizes that he often has furry, four-legged colleagues.  He has been taking his dogs to his facilities with him for over 25 years, and the joy and pleasure they bring to residents have inspired others to appreciate the importance of the pet-people connection. He says, “The poor dogs haven’t been in a nursing home since last March; and they are ready, willing, and able to get back to work. I look forward to being able to bring them at some point soon.” He adds, “When I’m dogless, my visits are different; and I know my residents will be glad to see the girls come back.”

Dr. Steinberg currently is Chief Medical Officer of Mariner Health Central and Beecan Health. He also is a nursing facility, hospice, and home health agency medical director. He graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine and received his undergraduate degree from Harvard College. He has been an AMDA member since the mid-1990s, and he has served in many other positions including as chair of the Public Policy Committee and one of AMDA’s delegates to the American Medical Association. Currently, he also is vice president of National POLST and a member of the National Quality Forum’s standing committee on geriatrics and palliative care; and he is a past-president of the California Association of Long-Term Care Medicine (the state’s AMDA chapter).