By: Kathleen Gilmartin, President and CEO, Interim HealthCare
IFA President and CEO Steve Caldeira joined us on September 9 to help kick off our Interim HealthCare Franchise Business Meeting in Washington, DC. His presentation and comments about the state of franchising offered valuable insights and inspiration to our franchisees before we headed over to The Hill for our planned visits with 35 senators and 24 house representatives.
Although he cited statistics indicating 1.4 percent growth forecast this year in franchise establishments and 1.9 percent for jobs in franchising, Steve commented that today’s political environment is causing uncertainty and stifling job creation. He pointed out that, with the IFA leading the charge, franchising as a whole needs to make their voices heard in Washington. He outlined a 3-pronged approach including lobbying by the IFA, political power with FranPAC and grassroots activities to Congress all supported by a strong base of media and public relations.
Armed with information from Steve and background from our own health care network, our business leadership went to Capitol Hill to make our voices heard. We met with some of the most influential and powerful people in Washington who are making decisions on Medicare and Medicaid policy and spending. We explained that we are constituents not only from a home care, home health and hospice provider standpoint, but as employers and we shared the realities of our daily tasks and how confusing the current state of healthcare can be, not only for us, but for our customers and employees.
In meetings with the Washington decision makers we predominately heard them say yes, we will work with you on care in the home and yes, we know it needs to be simpler from provider and employer perspectives. We even heard there is openness to considering reinstating the definition of “full time” employee back to 40 hours a week from 30.
Our Interim HealthCare Greenville CEO, Richard McDuff accompanied me to the meeting with Senator Lindsey Graham (R) from South Carolina. Other Interim HealthCare business leaders met with House Speaker and Congressman John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), members of the Senate Ways and Means Committee as well as the Finance Committee members.
“It is so important for us talk to our government leaders,” Caldeira told our group. “When companies care enough to come to Washington and talk to our politicians – like you’re doing today – it strengthens the franchising industry. Interim and Kathleen have been important advocates not only for the IFA, but for all of franchising.”
Our scheduled trip to The Hill was inspiring and productive and Steve’s participation at our meeting was a great addition. We saw democracy at work and realized, as we do each year, that you don’t have to be a lobbyist to make your voice heard and influence decision making.