COLUMBUS, OH – Does advocacy really matter—especially in today’s turmoil? The obvious answer is “of course” and on all fronts. Advocacy is representation and representation is paramount to power held by the people in a governed republic. While voting is the most prominent example, like most aspects of life, the devil is in the details and laws and regulations have a tremendous impact on our daily lives.
Your voice matters. It not only matters, it’s imperative; especially if your organization participates in (receives funds from) a government program. Maybe advocacy, however you define it, isn’t your thing. That’s of course your choice, but it’s a risky choice. Be assured that other voices will be communicating with government payers such as Medicare, Medicaid, the Veteran’s Administration, and others. These entities do not operate without public engagement.
Maybe it is your thing (or you recognize it must be your thing) but you’re burned out, “too busy”, or not convinced we can move the needle. Trust me, as one of our industry’s veteran advocates, and a humble recipient of the 2023 Van Miller Homecare Champion award, I have decades of experiences and piles of files that demonstrate the persistence it takes to map strategy and make progress.
While that may sound overwhelming, even pointless, it’s far from it. Our industry’s sustained advocacy efforts in our state capitals and Washington DC over the past many years, coupled with the long overdue recognition that the pandemic spotlighted for homecare and HME services, brings us to incomparable optimism today—and a bright future for tomorrow—if we’re willing to work for it. In short, don’t miss this moment.
Are you paying attention? We are making progress on the state and national fronts with our government payers. We have developed professional relationships with agencies and legislators grounded in trust and credibility. We are achieving regulatory relief and reimbursement wins based on evidence and our valued role in the continuum of care.
This was accomplished through relentless advocacy. Our national, state and regional industry associations, determined staff, and dedicated leaders (and it takes both), are the tip of the spear in those efforts, but we need your engagement for YOUR future.
Many of you may know that I’m stepping back in 2024 after almost four decades as an association professional in the home medical services community. Hands down, the single most rewarding and enlightening aspect of my career has been advocacy and relationship building working with providers, elected officials, regulators, and stakeholders towards a common cause.
But my message isn’t about me; it’s about you. Effective advocacy, or lack thereof, proportionately fulfills or fails our purpose. Our government and payer partners need us, and we need them, and it’s been amazing to see what we can do together to serve those in our communities who are homecare dependent in their daily lives.
Don’t underestimate the rewards of becoming a homecare advocate. You already have the knowledge because you are working in this field. Don’t underrate your role in the future of healthcare. This industry offers promising solutions to our societal challenges. A lot has been achieved, and now it’s your turn to carry us forward.
Kam Yuricich is executive director of the Ohio Association of Medical Equipment Services and the Great Lakes Home Medical Services Association. She is the 2023 recipient of the Van Miller Homecare Champion award.