Collins delivered remarks after accepting the award, which has only been presented on four other occasions
Augusta, ME - In recognition of her outstanding advocacy and long-time leadership for home care and hospice, U.S. Senator Susan Collins received the Home Care and Hospice Alliance of Maine’s Ruby Slipper Award and delivered remarks at the organization’s annual meeting today.
“I am deeply grateful for this award and want to express my thanks to the members of the Alliance for your commitment to bringing quality, compassionate home care and hospice to patients and families throughout our State,” said Senator Collins. “Home health agencies help to keep families together and enable our most frail and vulnerable older and disabled individuals to avoid hospitals and nursing homes and stay just where they want to be – in the comfort, security, and privacy of their own homes.”
Senator Collins, Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, introduced the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act earlier this year. This bipartisan legislation would improve the access Medicare beneficiaries have to home health care by allowing physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and certified nurse midwives to order home health services.
The Ruby Slipper Award was first introduced in 2011 and has only been presented on four other occasions to individuals who exemplify outstanding advocacy and leadership in the cause of caring for others. Home Care and Hospice Alliance of Maine is a non-profit trade organization that supports the over 7,000 home care and hospice employees in Maine.
In February, Senator Collins introduced the Preserve Access to Medicare Rural Home Health Services Act, which would help ensure that home health care remains an option for seniors in rural communities by extending the three percent rural add-on payment increase for Medicare home health services through December, 2022.
Senator Collins is also championing the RAISE Family Caregivers Act, which cleared an important hurdle after passing the Senate HELP Committee this spring. The bill would establish a Family Caregiving Strategy, as well as a Family Caregiving Advisory Council to advise it on recognizing and supporting family caregivers.
Issues affecting home care and hospice have been at the top of Senator Collins’ priority list since she came to the Senate, and she has been the Senate leader on a variety of initiatives to strengthen, modernize, and promote fairness in the Medicare home health and hospice benefits. In recognition of these efforts, Senator Collins has been named legislator of the year by the Visiting Nurse Associations of America (VNAA) and as a “home care hero” by the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC). In 2001, she received the Claude Pepper Award from NAHC and, in 2007, the Mother Teresa Award from that same organization in recognition of her “efforts to fight for the rights of the aged, infirm and disabled.”