A new call to action from the National Association of Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) urges homecare providers and advocates to connect with their congressional members over the July 4th recess.
The message to bring to lawmakers is: “While we are celebrating our nation’s independence, let’s take this time to celebrate the role that home care and hospice play in maintaining the independence of our nation’s seniors and those who struggle with disabilities, keeping them out of the confines of expensive nursing homes and hospitals and in their homes and communities with friends and family. Let’s oppose putting barriers such as copays and payment cuts in the way of access to home care and hospice. And let’s remove existing barriers to access to home care and hospice such as the requirement that only doctors, and not nurse practitioners and physician assistants, can order home health care and hospice.”
Actions you may take to deliver this message over the recess include:
- Visiting with Members of Congress back home. Over the congressional July 4 th July recess (June 30 to July 9) many members of Congress will be campaigning in their home districts. You may arrange to visit with them through their local offices. An effective idea is to invite your legislators to accompany representatives of your agency on a home visit as a compelling way to ensure members of Congress are informed about the benefits of home care and hospice.
- Calling Members of Congress. You can communicate to their staff in local or Washington, D.C. offices by phone. When calling, ask the receptionist to connect you with the staffer who handles Medicare issues.
- Writing Members of Congress. NAHC suggests faxing or emailing letters to members of Congress to allow the message to get through sooner by avoiding the screening delays that can hamper postal mail delivery. You may easily and effectively email your legislators or obtain their fax numbers using the NAHC Legislative Action Network (LAN), which allows users to send either an email prepared by NAHC or compose/adjust the message personally.
- Getting Other Like-Minded Individuals Involved. Community or religious-based groups that represent or serve senior communities (e.g., Catholic Charities, Meals-on-Wheels, and local AARP chapters) can often be enlisted as advocates for home care and hospice. Try to meet with community groups to explain the issues and how they will affect their clients or members (if a face-to-face meeting is too difficult to arrange, try emailing or holding a conference call). Give the group background information and support.