The NAHC Challenge: 100 U.S. Senators on Home Visits Before 2018 Elections
September 26, 2016 02:09 PM
"A home visit can be a very powerful way to help government leaders understand the value of home care and hospice.” — NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris.
The National Association of Home Care & Hospice is announcing a challenge to its members: Let’s get all 100 U.S. Senators on a home care or hospice visit before the 2018 elections. And let’s make sure those home care visits are covered by the local print, broadcast and online media, compete with photos and videos, so we can present our case not just to lawmakers, but to the general public.
Years of partisan bickering and gridlock have convinced many Americans that members of Congress are out of touch with the needs of their constituents and communities. In the home care and hospice community, we know the stakes are too high for that to continue. As NAHC President Val Halamandaris has said: “With the 78 million baby boomers coming into their Medicare years, Americans must come to grips with the need to assist them in managing disability and chronic disease. The facts are clear: 5 percent of Americans are responsible for 50 percent of U.S. health care costs, and 10 percent of Americans who need help managing long-term chronic conditions account for 75 percent of the bill.”
The home care and hospice community in Kansas has shown us the way. At the invitation and urging of industry leaders in the Sunflower State, every member of the Kansas Congressional delegation has made at least one home care visit, to talk with providers and patients and see in person the irreplaceable role home care plays in our health care system. And those visits shape opinions.
Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) said at a recent Home Care & Hospice March on Washington Conference that his commitment to home care and hospice began the day he participated in his first home visit in Kansas. “That day really underscored my belief in the incredible value of the personal touch of the home care industry.”
Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) is a repeat home care visitor, including meeting with a patient on her 88th birthday, who was being treated at home for a serious foot injury. “Each time I visit one of these facilities and meet the individuals providing care to Kansans, I learn something new about the unique challenges they face,” says Senator Moran.
When members of Congress make home care visits, they come away converts. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) cites her experience going on a visit with a home care advocate in Maine for why she is such a strong supporter of the home care and hospice community. “I encourage each and every one of you to invite your Senators and your members of the House, when they are back home during the recess, to come with you on a home health care visit. I can assure that you will gain converts every step of the way,” she told NAHC members earlier this year.
NAHC encourages all its members to emulate Kansas and invite their Senators on a home care visit. The best advertisement for home care and hospice is your hard work and matchless results. If you have already done so, please let us know so we can tell your story here at NAHC Report.
So how is it done? Well, it’s probably easier than you think. Here is a step-by-step guide to inviting your U.S. Senator on a home visit:
Contact the local offices of your Senators and ask to speak with the scheduler and the person who handles Medicare issues (ideally both) regarding your invitation for the Senator.
Invite the Senator to visit your agency to see firsthand the compassionate, high-quality, cost-effective work that your agency provides to patients.
When you secure a commitment from the Senator to attend a home visit with your agency, work with the Senator's press staff to invite the local media to come along on the visit.
Brush up on the key issues to highlight. (We recommend NAHC’s Legislative Action Center.)
Urge the elected official to contact other Congressional leaders to express his or her support on the key issues.
Please take photos of the Senator during the home visit, and email pictures and a description of the visit to NAHC Report. (Remember, you need the patient’s permission and a signed release form for photos if they include the patient. You can download the form here)
There is no solution to America’s health care crisis without the home care and hospice community, which provides the best services at the best value. America needs home care and hospice now, but it will need it even more in the future.