VNS leader takes the helm of national group

Elaine D. Stephens /
Elaine D. Stephens /

Elaine D. Stephens has been elected chair of the board of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice, the industry’s largest, oldest and most respected trade group, representing nearly 25,000 home care agencies and hospice organizations. She will serve a two-year term.
Stephens is president and CEO of the Visiting Nurse Service of Greater Rhode Island and its Hospice Care, one of the state’s largest home care and hospice providers.

PBN: What does the NAHC do?
STEPHENS: The association serves as a unified voice in promoting home care and hospice, protecting the legal rights of hospice and home care beneficiaries, representing the interests of caregivers, sponsoring research, fostering high standards of care, providing expert advice, and heightening the political viability of home care and hospice interests.

PBN: How has the association helped the VNS?
STEPHENS: It has provided us and many others with direct member service that, at some points, has helped us survive during times of retroactive federal budget cuts. The Center for Health Care Law at NAHC has helped us to advocate for our beneficiaries with regulators, … worked with us to protect the legal rights of hospice and home care beneficiaries, and provided guidance and support for advocacy of our cause with legislators. The expert business advice we get allows us to look at best practices across the country … and we have been able to expand our use of technology through the education and information made available to us through NAHC.

PBN: What is the biggest issue you face right now?
STEPHENS: Our biggest challenge is to continue to guide the development of the best public policy on behalf of home care and hospice agencies, their staffs, their patients and families, and the community in general. We are deeply concerned about the possibility of both state and federal cuts in home care benefits. We desperately need support for federal health technology efforts. The privatization of Medicare should not result in less home care and hospice for Medicare beneficiaries; this is not what beneficiaries want and need, and it is not good health care policy or financial policy.

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