Senator Al Franken to Speak at NAHC’s March on Washington Conference
March 11, 2016 10:49 AM
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) today announced that United States Senator Al Franken (D-MN) will address the Senate Breakfast at the 2016 Home Care & Hospice March on Washington Conference, joining four other Senators already confirmed. In addition to Sen. Franken, the Senators speaking include: Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who chairs the Special Committee on Aging; Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), a member of the Senate Finance Committee with jurisdiction over Medicare and Medicaid; Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a member of Senate Finance Committee; Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and the Special Committee on Aging (see previous NAHC Report article here).
Sen. Franken, like the others speaking, is a long-standing champion for home care and hospice. He is a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. He last addressed the 2013 March on Washington Senate Breakfast, and told a moving story about his family’s positive experience with the quality hospice and end-of-life care that his father received.
The Senator is also a co-sponsor of the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act (S. 578), which would allow Nurse Practitioners and physician assistants to certify Medicare home health plans of care. The legislation is one of NAHC’s top priorities.
In 2008, then-candidate Franken spoke about the institutional bias in Medicaid and the need to better promote access to home care in an interviewwith Ecumen, a nonprofit provider of a variety of senior services, including Ecumen Home Care which is a NAHC member in Minnesota. “Our Minnesota seniors deserve to live out their lives where they are most comfortable. In most cases this means finding ways for them to stay in their own homes and in the communities they have lived for years - where their friends and family are,” he said.
“Right now, a large portion of our federal dollars spent on health care for seniors is through Medicare or Medicaid - the latter of which goes to pay for nursing home care when a person no longer can pay with his or her own dollars,” Sen. Franken said. “Numerous studies show that institutional care is more expensive and less efficient than home care. Strengthening home care options will also address the concerns of rural Minnesotans who struggle to find access to providers. Rural Minnesotans are less likely to find nursing homes in their communities, and those that exist are struggling financially. Our seniors deserve to live out their days where they choose - and most often that would be remaining at or close to home, with family and friends.”
Sen. Franken’s support for home care and hospice was reinforced after joining the Senate in 2012 when he went on a home care visit in Minnesota and said the experience opened his eyes to the value of home care.
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