A Strange October
October 2020. Some days feel almost normal. My husband and I spent Saturday at home doing yardwork and stacking the last of the wood before the snow flies. On Sunday, we hiked. I struggled to keep up and wished we were biking instead, but decided it was worth it when we reached the summit. Nothing new there.
This week, I’m getting a flu shot. That feels pretty normal, except for the sense of urgency brought on by COVID-19. This year, more than ever, it’s crucial for everyone to take this step toward ensuring that our health care system is not overwhelmed by COVID and the flu sickening and possibly hospitalizing Vermonters at the same time. Please get your flu shot and encourage your loved ones and others to do so too.
With this newsletter, the VNAs of Vermont is sharing our final legislative report, which couldn’t feel stranger at this time of year. The unprecedented online session lasted until late September, just in time to start gearing up for 2021. Highlights since July include the passage of the Older Vermonters Act and a final budget that preserved existing levels of Medicaid reimbursement to providers.
As others have said, I sometimes find myself longing to live in more “precedented” times, but mostly I’m adapting.
In my professional life, the greatest challenge ahead is finding new strategies to work on behalf of home health and hospice agencies and the people they serve in a new legislative biennium that may be largely virtual. It was challenging enough in 2020 when legislators were in the second year of a biennium, fully oriented to the work of their committees. In 2021, both the House and Senate will have new members; committees will be reorganized; and, at a minimum, both the entire Senate and the House Appropriations Committee will have new leaders.
Even as a virtual legislature creates constraints on statewide advocacy, I’m hopeful it will also give lawmakers more opportunities to be in touch with the leaders in their individual communities. With widespread use of remote meeting platforms, there are more opportunities than ever for legislators to connect with the volunteer boards of the not-for-profits who support vulnerable Vermonters and remain on the frontline of the pandemic.
I look forward to meeting and welcoming new legislators and continuing my work with returning colleagues.