Senator John Heinz Award

This award is named in honor of the late Senator John Heinz III in tribute to his efforts on behalf of Adult Day Services. The award recognizes an individual, business, private or public organization, or an elected official making an outstanding contribution to the field of Adult Day Services but not directly or indirectly responsible for the operation of an Adult Day Services program.

NADSA is proud to present the 2013 Senator John Heinz Memorial Award to two well-deserving recipients:

The Honorable Glenn F. McConnell

The Honorable Glenn F. McConnell

The Honorable Glenn F. McConnell

The Honorable Glenn F. McConnell is the Lt. Governor of South Carolina. In South Carolina, the Lt. Governor oversees the state’s Office on Aging.  In less than 18 months, Lt. Governor McConnell has elevated the dialogue among public policy makers and has focused on serving as the champion and educator on the needs of South Carolina’s aging citizens. After touring adult day centers throughout the state, the Lt. Governor became concerned about inadequate funding sources for adult day health services. As a result, Lt. Governor McConnell asked, as part of his budget presentation to the Senate Finance Committee, to increase the state’s Medicaid reimbursement rate for adult day health services. Effective July 1, 2013, adult day health programs received a 10% Medicaid rate increase.

Lt. Governor McConnell hosts a weekly television program on the state’s public education channel. He has hosted adult day service providers on the program and spent considerable time educating the public, community leaders and legislators as to what adult day centers can do for those in need, and the cost efficient nature of home and community based services. He has also launched a “Face of Aging” tour in which he travels to communities in South Carolina to visit different programs for the aging.

Lt. Governor McConnell has taken a proactive approach to ensuring access to services by updating the AARP’s website so that seniors have access to better information about service options. He is approachable and caring, and works tirelessly to assess the needs of the aging population and to find resources to address those needs. Under his leadership, discussions are focused on problem-solving the health and psycho-social needs of seniors and their families, implementing and exploring new programs.

Lt. Governor McConnell was and is concerned that there is no real public policy focus on what happens as baby boomers age; he believes there are not enough services and funding available for South Carolina’s increasing population of aging and people with disabilities. As a result, he has personally spent countless hours researching needs and creative solutions. His staff has embraced his leadership and direction in focusing policy directives on the aging and disabled populations, and they believe they are now making a difference for those in need.

Lt. Governor McConnell is in constant contact with adult day health service providers and their advocates in an effort to continue positive and productive dialogue. He also spends time with other advocacy groups such as AARP-SC and will speak to any group off one or more who allow him to talk about his new passion—South Carolina’s seniors. He is in the process of working with business groups to establish a private foundation to help seniors and the disabled who “fall through the cracks” to have access to home and community based services.

Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal

Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal

Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal

Also receiving the 2013 Senator John Heinz Memorial Award is Maria Chappelle-Nadal, Missouri State Senator. She has championed the cause of adult day services and prevented closures of numerous adult day programs in Missouri due to a clash between two state departments.

When the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and the Department of Social Services transitioned Medicaid auditing, inconsistencies with regulations resulted in substantial fines and penalties levied against adult day centers. Senator Chappelle-Nadal met with providers to learn and understand the ramifications of this communication disaster but also quickly learned how important these services were to families and communities throughout the state. She quickly recognized the seriousness of these consequences and offered help to any provider throughout the state, not just in her district. Having been a state employee as the assistant to Lt. Governor Joe Maxwell in 2000, the Senator shared that she had high expectations for state employees and took  her concerns straight to the office of the Governor. She hosted the Adult Day Services Legislative Day at the Capitol, offered her office as headquarters when providers and families met with their elective officials, cheering them on and offering advice for these meetings. She followed up by sponsoring a bill for Adult Day Providers listing regulation changes expected of state departments to prevent future detrimental mishaps.

The result of Senator Chappelle-Nadal’s interventions was a compromise reached between the two state departments that protects services for many families and saves many providers whose future existence was in jeopardy by misdirected Medicaid audit employees. Provider fines were dismissed and her efforts led to a partnership between providers and DHSS to jointly draft improvements in these regulations to build clarity and consistency.

Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal exemplified “public servant” by hearing from her constituents and going beyond. She solved a problem in the best interests of the aging citizens of her State of Missouri and is leading the charge for better legislation for them and aging service providers.

Posted in NADSA Awards
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