On Thursday, I drove out to middle Tennessee (Hendersonville and Goodlettsville) to meet with Senator Alexander‘s Health Legislative Aide, Nick. We have taken trips each year to Washington DC to meet with Nick and other offices of our elected officials from Tennessee to talk about homecare and home medical equipment (HME), but this was Nick’s first experience coming to tour a HME company and get first-hand experience on the daily operations.
We started at Ed Medical, a full-service HME company (similar product range of HME to Lambert’s) where Nick was able to meet the staff, learn about the functions of each department, and gain a better understanding about oxygen therapy (modalities, service plans, disaster preparedness/response, maintenance, etc). We were even able to meet with an oxygen patient who was able to share the importance of receiving oxygen therapy from his trusted provider and what it has meant for his quality of life.
We then went to Medical Mobility, a company that specializes in complex rehabilitation with custom seating and mobility (high-end, customized power wheelchairs). We had the distinct honor of having Darren Jernigan meet us there and give his perspective as a person who uses these custom wheelchairs. Darren was in an auto accident in college, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. His power wheelchair enabled him to go from being a Social Security recipient following the accident to a Social Security contributor as he was able to enter the workforce and gain his life back. Darren was just re-elected as City Councilman of the 11th District in Nashville and is a patient-advocate, working as the Director of Government Relations at Permobil (a wheelchair manufacturer based out of Lebannon, TN).
Having facility tours like these are important to help our elected officials gain a better understanding of the companies, products, and services they read about in Washington. I’m sure that Nick appreciated getting to meet the employees and customers these companies work with, as they are all constituents of Senator Alexander’s.
As a homecare beneficiary, you can help educate your legislators about the importance of homecare by volunteering to share your story with your elected official. Your HME company would probably love to have you help put a face to this valuable segment of health care as they meet with their representative.
In this picture, we’re hearing from the oxygen patient who was using portable liquid oxygen to do the facility tour.
You have a unique opportunity to share your perspective with the people who are there to represent you and pass legislation that will protect and empower you. Homecare is a small part of health care, and it is important that we take advantage of these opportunities to bring homecare into the limelight. We have a great story to tell, and it needs to be told!
If you would like to help tell the homecare story, contact your local homecare equipment provider and let them know that you would be willing to participate in a facility tour to speak from the patient’s perspective. You don’t have to know the in’s and out’s of the business, you only need to know what this equipment and/or service has meant to your quality of life or the life of a loved one.