Hot Topic: Changes on the Horizon. Picture of clouds stretching to the rising sun with Consumer Direct's tagline on the bottom: Every Life. Every Moment. Every Day.

Evolution in the healthcare industry is nothing new to most of us. Here in the policy and government relations world of our business, we are accustomed to adapting to national and local policy changes that affect any or all of Consumer Direct Care Network’s 20 companies.

We expect nothing less than change from the new presidential administration. It is obvious that federal and state healthcare programs like Medicare and Medicaid will continue to draw increasing national and local attention. While the specific nature of those changes remains unclear, national conversations in healthcare service delivery indicate self-directed programs will continue to be supported. Our colleagues in the advocacy community agree that self-direction is a resilient service delivery model with a lot going for it; namely, it is cost-effective and increases quality of life. Together, those factors create a bipartisan concept that anyone can support. We are confident the trend towards in-home services will continue as we (with our partners) support and educate legislators, state Medicaid agencies, members of Congress, and national partner organizations on the viability and value of individuals receiving care outside of institutions.

In addition to the national transition in leadership, states are in the process of formulating and finalizing their health and human services budgets for Fiscal Year 2017 (and in many cases 2018). We are monitoring these processes and impacting change when possible to ensure the various state and local funding streams for our services remain viable. We are working to support Program Managers and State Directors to promote and protect our lines of service delivery through sound healthcare policy, and through efforts to stabilize or increase our reimbursement rates.

This winter and spring, we will continue to advocate for legislation to expand and strengthen services provided by CDCN. Efforts include developing relationships with legislators, provider associations and state Medicaid agencies and educating them about why in-home services are important. We are working to promote the understanding that Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) and self-direction are fundamental support systems allowing people to live longer, receive healthcare services in their communities, and experience a higher quality of life. We are expanding legislative and state interactions in organized and thoughtful ways. Eventually, the goal is to provide this level of support to all of our program offices, although the specific nature of support will vary based on local need.

Increased engagement with legislative processes and mechanisms for policy change add to our value and reputation as a company, giving us a louder voice to guide positive outcomes. We look forward to continuing these efforts and value what we have learned, and will continue to learn, as part of the process.

Kelly Jepson |  Policy Analyst
Consumer Direct Care Network |Government Relations