Advocate Spotlight: Kyle Simon of the Home Care Association of Florida
July 13, 2017 01:11 PM
Today marks the second installment of a new series at NAHC Report, the Advocate Spotlight, in which we draw attention to a committed and effective advocate for home care and/or hospice in the United States. These advocates for home care and hospice can provide important tips for everyone about how we can better persuade the public and our elected officials to adopt policies that will enable every American who needs and wants home care and hospice services to receive it.
In addition, we will learn about the concerns home care and hospice leaders have around the country. Some of those concerns will be universal to our community, but others will be particular to that state or region.
Kyle Simon is the Director of Government Affairs and Communications at the Home Care Association of Florida and a frequent participant in NAHC’s advocacy campaigns, such as March on Washington. NAHC Report has asked Kyle five questions and we think readers will find his answers interesting.
1. What is your strategy for advocating for home care with state and/or federal legislators? That is, what is your pitch like and what seems to be particularly successful?
KS: I have found that localizing and personalizing the issue is the most effective strategy as a home care advocate. Showing a constituent receiving quality, cost-effective care at home helps the policy maker put him/herself or a loved one in the patient’s shoes, and reinforces the value of aging in place.
2. What is the most important legislative or regulatory issue facing the Florida home care community right now?
KS: There are many issues, such as the burdensome face-to-face encounter requirement and access to care considering the physician shortage. The overarching crisis we face as a nation is there being no solution in sight for rising long-term care costs for our aging population. Although home- and community-based care is cheaper than institutional care, too many states still spend more on the more expensive care setting. Additionally, the Medicare benefit does not cover unskilled care for beneficiaries (e.g., bathing, meal preparation), which can lead to institutionalization. Long-term care insurance has also failed at reining in costs because too few Americans can afford it.
3. And what would you like to see done about it?
KS: Policy makers must recognize that the Medicare home health benefit needs updating so it can better serve our aging population. A beneficiary may have nursing care that allows patients to heal at home, but what good does that do if they cannot dress or bathe themselves or prepare their meals? The benefit should be a one-stop shop so that care is better coordinated and costs are better controlled.
4. Why did you get into the home care field and what keeps you there?
KS: I am passionate about public policy as a means to improving the quality of life of others. After getting a master’s degree in policy, I recognized that no other policy area has more of an impact on a person’s opportunity to live a healthy, fulfilling life than health care. When you factor in that our industry helps keep families together and is a more cost-effective setting for care, working in home care was a no-brainer.
5. What are your plans for the rest of summer 2017?
KS: HCAF’s annual conference is around the corner, so my colleagues and I are feverishly finalizing plans to make this year the best yet! I also teach a college course part-time, so I am juggling that in addition to trying to get to the beach as often as I can.
Thank you, once again, to Kyle Simon of the Home Care Association of Florida. NAHC appreciates Kyle answering our questions, but even more we appreciate all the hard work he has done on behalf of home care in the state of Florida.
See the previous installments of Advocate Spotlight:
1. Kathy Messerli