From September 18-19, 180 ANCOR members gathered in Washington, D.C. at the Dupont Circle Hotel for our annual policy Leadership Summit. Attendees hailed from 36 states to learn about the latest policy developments affecting providers, hear off the record comments from top officials, and advocate in Congress.
Content-wise, providers explored a variety of topics including political messaging, where to find good data, and how to turn federal obstacles into opportunities. More specifically:
• Former Obama Administration spokesman Josh Earnest told attendees about how important community-based IDD supports were to his aunt as she entered adulthood in the 1970s. As a professional communicator, he concluded his keynote speech on with tips on how to message provider priorities to policy-makers and the media.
• Senator Hatch’s (R-UT) professional health issues staffer Stuart Portman candidly laid out what he viewed as opportunities and challenges for providers in this Congress and Administration in a meaty, off-the-record keynote discussion. As you can see from the photo, attendees had a lot to ask him after his session!
• Policy experts from the Coleman Institute, NASDDDS, and ANCOR lobbying firm ML Strategies shared key data sources providers can refer to in order to build their case when talking to elected officials about rates, the workforce crisis, etc. The panelists also explained how to interpret the numbers. Summit attendees will be able to find those slides in the Summit app.
• Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Chief Technology Officer Bruce Greenstein shared the current Administration’s understanding of the importance of access technology when it comes to innovating in the health sector.
• Attorney Bruce McGlauflin participated in a panel with ANCOR members Donna Martin, Gary Blumenthal and Dan Keating to discuss model legislation providers can push at the state level, including in critical areas such as the implementation of managed care in IDD services and rate-setting.
• ANCOR consultants Diane McComb and Kim Opsahl also went over ANCOR’s ACL Business Acumen Project in a break out session. Learn more about the Project here! Oh, and did you know Kim will be joining ANCOR Governmental Relations staff full-time in January 2018?
• We also heard from self-advocate Stephen Hinkle, Tia Nellis from TASH and Aaron Kaufman from JFNA on the importance of consumer participation in federal advocacy. And all of what you just read was the content from a single day!
Because ANCOR aims first and foremost to help providers voice their concerns, we concluded the Leadership Summit as always with a Hill Day. Despite operating under the shadow of the Graham Cassidy bill, which was then still actively under Senate consideration, providers managed to share opportunities for bipartisan action with Congressional staffers. These consisted of:
A technology sign-on letter addressed to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This letter requests that CMS review and enhance its ability to permit providers of HCBS and ICF/IID programs to provide services using emerging technology, and also communicate to states their ability to do so within their Medicaid partnerships with the federal government.
A workforce sign-on letter addressed to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This letter requests that BLS create a Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) for direct support professionals (DSPs). Currently, DSPs are considered a subset of personal care assistants and home health aides, but these categories do not encompass the full complexity of the DSP position, leading to poor data on the DSP workforce.
Even if you could not join us in Washington, D.C., please feel free to use these letters in your own in-state advocacy. Please contact our Government Relations Manager Doris Parfaite-Claude at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about these initiatives.
The Leadership Summit is an important event for ANCOR members and we strive to provide great content and opportunities to attendees. If you could join us this year and have any feedback, please let us know here. If you had a conflict, we hope you will be able to join us in Washington, DC next September – we promise it will be worth your while!