Tag Archives: Kathy Gallin

U.S. Congressman Mitch McConnell visits Signature HealthCARE

(Note: Signature HealthCARE welcomes all manner of political discourse and opinion, and regularly hosts elected officials in its facilities and offices regardless of party affiliation. These visits should not necessarily be taken as an endorsement of the views or policies of any particular party or representative. Signature strives to be a conduit for the freedoms this great nation affords through the company’s three pillars: Spirituality (the freedom to choose/to be); Education (the freedom to learn, think and opine); Intrapreneurship (the freedom to express new ideas and manifest those ideas into reality. For more about Signature, visit www.ltcrevolution.com.)

With the national presidential election just over two months away, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell spent an impassioned hour with stakeholders at Signature HealthCARE’s home office in Louisville last week, answering questions and detailing reasons he believes the nation is in need of new leadership.

During the event, arranged by SHC Director of Legislative Affairs Kathy Gallin, McConnell specifically discussed the Affordable Care Act – the health care reform bill signed into law in March 2010 that sparked a lengthy and ongoing debate among members of Congress. McConnell called the bill “the single worst piece of legislation that’s been passed in modern times.”

“For the country, it’s an unmitigated disaster,” he said.

The bill includes provisions and requirements that would extend health benefits to the nation’s 30-40 million uninsured. Of those without health insurance, half lack the financial means to purchase it, while the remainder simply choose not to, McConnell said. A “happy circumstance” that also poses cost challenges, he added, is the fact that people are living longer now than they were decades ago.

“The dilemma here for our country is that we can’t provide this much, for this many, for this long.”

To fund the expansion of health insurance coverage, the Affordable Care Act proposes to cut $716 billion from the federal Medicare budget, which would account for half of the money needed. The balance, McConnell noted, will come from new taxes.

To address the matter, the senior U.S. Senator said changes in eligibility rules for entitlement programs are needed, referencing billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

“Why in the world are we spreading these benefits across affluent people in our country?” he said. “We can’t afford it.”

McConnell also touched on an issue central to LTC providers in Kentucky: tort reform. While surrounding states, including Indiana and Tennessee, have in place some form of tort reform to ensure that lawsuits are valid and monetary awards are reasonable. Disagreements between the state Senate and House of Representatives prevented legislation from being passed during the 2012 regular legislative session, but similar legislation is expected to be filed again next year.

Among other issues raised during the visit, McConnell…

• Addressed the United States’ economic woes amid increasing competitive pressures from other countries. To strengthen the United States‘ standing as the dominant economic force in the world, he said we must create a pro-business environment by refraining from overtaxation and overregulation.

• Cast doubt that the U.S. would default on its debt but added that it was a reasonable concern to question whether foreign investors might eventually lose confidence in the U.S. economy and decide to invest elsewhere. He noted that the national debt is now roughly equivalent to the nation’s economy, or Gross Domestic Product. Both the national debt and the GDP hover at about $16 trillion.

• Was sympathetic to Americans’ dismal 12% approval rating of Congress. “If you’re one of the 88 percent, I’m with you,” he said.

• Said parties could work together to solve the nation’s problems and avoid Congressional gridlock. He cited political tandems from opposite sides of the aisle – Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill raising the age of eligibility for Social Security recipients in the 1980s, for instance – that were able to successfully work together to craft important legislation. And, should President Obama be reelected, McConnell expressed a desire to set aside partisan bickering and focus on effective governance.

“It’s time to get serious and get a result,” he said.

Lastly, McConnell expressed industry-wide appreciation for all health care workers.

“To me, everybody in the health care field deserves a lot of credit. I just want to thank you for all you’re doing.”



Signature ramps up efforts to connect with lawmakers

As economic and regulatory pressures heighten for health care providers of every stripe, Signature HealthCARE is being proactive in its pursuit of closer relationships with local legislators.

Historically, it has sometimes been challenging to get legislators into the buildings, said Kathy Gallin, Director of Legislative Affairs. But that has changed in recent months as inroads have been made with legislators in several states.

Maryland state delegate John L. Bohanan, Jr. recently visited Chesapeake Shores, and Sen. Steve Oelrich attended a June Hall of Fame event at SHC of Gainesville.

Jim Gotto, a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives, recently contacted Gallin to arrange a visit to Donelson Place, in Nashville, after a group of stakeholders and residents from three Signature facilities traveled to the state capitol to visit with Gotto and other elected officials. Gallin also is in talks with Florida Senate Minority Whip Leader David Simmons about a visit to Winter Park.

“These legislative visits help us to connect with our elected officials and drive home the message that despite the recent cuts to skilled nursing facilities, the tumultuous economic climate, and the threat of additional cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, Signature HealthCARE will persevere on our mission and vision to revolutionize and radically change the landscape of long term care in America,” Gallin said.

And there are a number of other benefits to the visits.

For starters, elected officials often attract media – both Oelrich’s visit to SHC of Gainesville and the resident trip to Nashville garnered TV and newspaper coverage.

But more important, the visits afford an opportunity for facilities to educate lawmakers and speak with them about the complex set of issues that impact residents, families and staff in long-term care facilities on a daily basis. And if they’re aware of the positive work taking place in long-term care facilities, they’ll likely be more inclined to support those facilities and the industry as a whole.

“They might say, ‘you know, these folks need these dollars to care for the frail and elderly population they serve,’ ” Gallin pointed out. “We can’t guarantee that, but it sure can’t hurt to have them witness what we do on a daily basis.”

Gallin encourages facility administrators to try and forge relationships with officials from their areas, but she understands the overload of demands on their time. That’s why she and Jennie Hornsby have taken up the mantle of making sure lawmakers know the Signature name and what it represents.

Eventually, she said, she hopes to create videos of legislative visits at every Signature building, “so people can see that we are out in our community, that we are involved, that we work to educate our legislators on a come-and-see basis.”

“We are our best advocates,” Gallin said. “If we don’t get our message out there, who’s going to do it for us?”