Friday, November 1, 2013

Rep. Diane Black Tours Center in Tennessee

By Drew Thies

Representative Diane Black (R-TN) visited Gallatin Health Care and Rehabilitation Center in Gallatin, TN last Friday, sitting down with residents and providers to discuss critical legislative issues.

Sonya Kemp, Administrator of Gallatin Health Care, told AHCA that the Representative was overwhelmingly receptive to hearing of the hurdles faced by long term care centers both in Tennessee and across the nation.

“She was eager to sit down at the table and listen to our issues,” Kemp said.

Kemp went on to say that the Congresswoman had a strong understanding of both the near-term legislative issues that must be addressed as well as demographic changes amongst patients that will increase stress on already-strained providers.

Legislatively, “bad debt write-offs”—the cut in Medicare’s coverage of Medicaid co-pays that cannot be met—was the first item on the agenda, Kemp said, because of its overwhelming impact on Tennessee and other similarly affected states.

“Booming senior populations” and the overall rise in the acuity of patients receiving skilled nursing care, however, also factored heavily into the discussion.

“Our patients are coming to us sicker and sicker and we’re still striving to meet quality goals,” Kemp said.

Rep. Black, a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, which controls a predominant amount of Medicare policy, knows the situation of providers well. Before becoming a politician, she worked for decades as an emergency room and long term care nurse, positioning herself well to work on health policy while in Congress. She is also Vice Chairwoman of the GOP Doctors Caucus.

AHCA’s staff will continue to work with Rep. Black as the legislative year draws to a close, working to craft solutions to America’s toughest health care issues with those who understand them best.


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