A Message from HCA’s Director for Public Policy and Advocacy Alyssa Lovelace
Dear HCA Member:
Welcome to the 2021 Legislative Session! The New York State Senate and Assembly gaveled in last Wednesday, January 6 to kick off the year. And today, at 11:30 a.m., Governor Cuomo will deliver his annual State of the State Address.
While typically a large-scale event held in Albany, this year’s address will be virtual. You can watch it live today on the Governor’s website.
This legislative session brings new lawmakers following the November elections, new political dynamics, and new legislative priorities. For HCA, this means an opportunity to meet freshmen legislators, continue to establish relationships with incumbents, and make our voices heard during the COVID-19 crisis.
HCA’s Advocacy Day will be virtual, and the meetings we’d typically hold in Albany (and Washington, D.C.) will be done via Zoom and telephone. This might seem daunting for some, as I know technology has been hard for me to adapt to as well; but these meetings will still be one-on-one and provide you with an opportunity to tell your lawmakers what’s impacting your organization and how your organizations have served the community during the public health emergency.
While HCA’s legislative agenda is expansive, it consists of three key themes to position home care, hospice and managed long term care (MLTC) services: financial stability; investment in workforce; and, where necessary, regulatory relief.
You might be wondering where COVID-19 relief fits in these priorities. The answer is everywhere.
Like you, HCA is working to curb the spread of COVID-19 and remains in contact with the state Department of Health and Governor’s office to combat this public health emergency.
Lawmakers have already introduced COVID-19 relief legislation and we are following these bills as they navigate the legislative process. Additionally, the Governor is expected to prioritize COVID-19 relief and resources in this year’s Executive Budget, including much-needed investment in telehealth.
As the state faces a $15 billion budget deficit and public health emergency, I encourage all HCA members to be as active as possible during this year’s legislative session. We have an uphill battle in front of us, and we need to ensure that our voices rise prominently amid many other groups seeking input, focus and priority in the legislative process.
We need strong representation in Albany — starting with our own grassroots advocacy initiatives.
Take a look at our Advocacy Calendar to view important legislative dates and how you can help advance our home care, hospice and MLTC agenda this year.
I, along with my colleagues, will be communicating frequently with you about state budget initiatives, and, in some instances may ask you to partake in legislative meetings with lawmakers. And if you have not done so already, I encourage you, as leaders of the community, to meet with the lawmakers in your district, particularly if they are newly elected.
Please also be sure to complete HCA’s financial and trends survey which will provide vital data in support of our advocacy. All home care agencies should complete this vital survey as soon as possible. The deadline is close of business tomorrow.
Should you need any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me or any HCA Public Policy staff with questions or concerns about the state budget, legislative session and/or grassroots advocacy initiatives.
I look forward to advocating alongside you in the coming months.
HCA’s Director for Public Policy and Advocacy