This weekend marks a most welcome start to the annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC. This yearly rite ushers in expectations of warmer weather, sunnier skies and bursting beauty to offset the declining frost and grays of the season just ended. We sense great hope, we anticipate, and we are optimistic.
But as I peck this post onto the onscreen keyboard of my iPad (yes, I'm in Airplane Mode; I'll upload when we land), I wonder about the snow that is now falling in the city of blossoms. Our pilot just instructed us to expect a choppy ride as we descend into wintry conditions.
This weekend also marks our annual trek to Capitol city with our National Association for Home Care & Hospice colleagues to plead our case to elected legislators and the surrounding multitude of policy makers, regulators and analysts.
I recall last year at this time...
Rumors of forthcoming cuts to home health care reimbursement prevailed and so we readied strategies of pointing to evidence that home care is the solution... not the problem... in terms of escalating health care expenditures. On paper, we looked good. We were hopeful and we were optimistic. And we had good reason to be. Everyone who met us on The Hill told us they were on our side. They described themselves as The Good Guys and our hearts warmed a little to be surrounded by so many good guys. We clapped and cheered at luncheons and patted each other on the back in front of cheese trays and regal china.
But then the cuts did come...
And for organizations such as the VNA of Boston, agencies who don't skim off the topmost layer of best-paying customer cream, we reeled. We planned for difficult days and we hunkered down and readied for the storm. But would the storm linger... or pass by quickly?
That is the question as we prepare to descend into the wintry conditions of the "rebasing" and "copayment" talk now in DC. Talk that portends of more cuts.
And I fully anticipate I'll meet up with The Good Guys once again. They will tell us we are preaching to a choir and that our fight is with others. But our message this time is to enlist them in this fight, to request their entry into our fray.
The most vulnerable among us need that. The ones who are homebound... and who rely upon us to be their voice... deserve that.
Otherwise, it will all... once again... be merely frost upon a cherry blossom spring.
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