Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS)

“Caring for Other People Really is the Way We Make the World a Better Place”

United States Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) spoke at the National Association for Home Care & Hospice’s (NAHC) 2016 March on Washington Senate Breakfast. Sen. Moran is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, with jurisdiction over all federal spending including that of the Department of Health and Human Service, as well as a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Sen. Moran is a co-sponsor of the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act (S. 578), one of NAHC’s top priorities, which would allow Nurse Practitioners and physician assistants to certify Medicare home health services. He had previously addressed the 2013 March on Washington Senate Breakfast.

Introducing Sen. Moran was Ms. Jane Kelly, Executive Director of the Kansas Home Care Association. She said Sen. Moran is “a leader in veterans’ issues, and health care has been one of his top priorities—particularly rural health.” Ms. Kelly also cited his support for the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act, face-to-face reform, and the Medicare rural add-on for home health.

“Sen. Moran is highly regarded by the Kansas home care and hospice community as he appreciates the importance of caring for people in their homes and communities whenever possible. I’m proud to say Sen. Moran has been on not one but two home health care visits, and one of those included bringing along then-Administrator [of CMS] Marilyn Tavenner to a home care visit,” she said. “He knows how important it is to keep people in their homes, as his parents stayed in their homes on a rural Kansas farm into their 90s.”

“It’s good to be back in front of you health care professional and advocates who understand and care about people at various stages of their life,” Sen. Moran said. “I express my gratitude for the profession, career, challenges you have decided to accept in your life.”

Sen. Moran said the care provided in communities through home care and hospice makes the world a better place. “I am of the view that we each change the world one soul, one person at a time,” he said. “What individuals do in their home communities—in churches and schools and what we do across America—caring for other people really is the way we make the world a better place. While it’s an honor to represent Kansas in the United States Senate, I always want to make certain people know we appreciate what they do one person at a time, improving lives, therefore improving the world.”

Having been raised in a rural area, he said health care is one of his top priorities because he has seen the challenges of providing quality care in rural communities and its importance in people’s lives. “If my hometown has a future, it’s because we have access to quality health care that’s provided in a caring way,” he said. “So, a lot of the focus that we have in our nation’s capitol is trying to make certain that point of view is conveyed and the importance of providing health care in all settings across the country, from rural to suburban to urban to Indian reservations—just the wide gamut of America—must have access to health care. I suppose that sometimes we think of that as hospitals and doctors, and it is, but it’s much larger than that. Many communities that I represent have no hospital; have no doctor.”

He also spoke regarding the challenges of providing home health care in rural areas. “It is a challenge to provide home health care in places that are 30, 40, 50 miles apart from each other,” he said. “The idea of a physician having to sign papers is also an issue in rural America. Finding that physician for getting that permission is sometimes a pretty difficult thing to do and circumstances require immediate action.”

In addition, he said, Congress is working to improve care for veterans. He said many veterans are “slipping through the cracks” and one of the solutions is to provide them with more home and community-based health care through private providers. “We all know that almost without exception an individual would prefer to be cared for in their home community nearby their family and loved ones. Usually VA facilities are long distances away. So there’s an opportunity to provide great quality health care surrounded by loving and caring people, and we just need the VA to get through the bureaucracy sufficiently well enough to allow those contracts to occur.”