Monday, May 7, 2012

Just North of Kalamazoo

Recently, in a town just north of Kalamazoo, national and state leaders along with community leaders from the Allegan County Human Services Board members and Michigan County Medical Care Facilities Council spent the day at Allegan County Medical Care Community (ACMCC). Before touring the skilled nursing center, the group heard from another invited guest – U.S. Representative Fred Upton (R-MI), who spoke about pending legislation before the U.S. Congress and its impact on the long term and post-acute care profession.  

Congressman Upton also had accepted an invitation from ACMCC Administrator Bill Hekker, who led the group on a tour of his facility, which provides short-term rehabilitation, long term care, adult day care, and memory care in a home-like environment that is tailored to meet residents’ individual rehabilitative and care needs.
ACMCC Resident Lenore Paul greets Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI) .
Bill Hekker knew that, after touring ACMCC, Congressman Upton would return to DC with a better understanding of what it takes to provide the kind of skilled nursing care and specialized programs his Allegan residents require. What he didn’t plan on was the very thing that made the Congressman’s visit so memorable – the staff and residents – especially Lenore Paul. As you can tell from this photos, Lenore got the Congressman’s attention, literally grabbing the hand of the chair of the powerful House Committee on Energy & Commerce and bringing him a bit closer and saying, “Upton? I went to school with someone named Upton….” Sure enough, Lenore had gone to school with the Congressman’s father.

Finding those sorts of connections – between your representatives in Congress and your community – are not uncommon during a facility tour. From an advocacy perspective, those connections are priceless – particularly when you’re dealing with a chair of the Committee with the broadest jurisdiction of any authorizing body.

Those few words between Congressman Upton and Lenore Paul will have a lasting effect – an important thing to remember for the next time the House Energy & Commerce Committee takes on consumer protection, affordable energy, environmental quality, food and drug safety, interstate commerce, public health research or telecommunications policies or reviews the work of HHS – just one of the cabinet-level departments the Committee oversees.

To learn more about facility tours, contact AHCA Advocacy.

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