We had our October Mercer meeting -- it went very well. The Assistant Deputy Director on Area Agency on Aging started off with health programs that are available in Pennsylvania. We are very fortunate -- we have the PACE and PACE Net programs and my understanding is a lot of the other states are working on getting them. It's an insurance program, will help with that infamous donut hole and help with many other issues. We were told of a Caregiver program that is also available, they will actually pay a Caregiver to mix your meds, help with your hygiene (giving you bath, etc) and some other essential things you may need to have done. I guess the government, whether it be State of Federal, figures it's cheaper to pay a caregiver than to pay for a nurse to come to your home or pay for you being in a nursing home. Go figure and I must look into that one.
Sam speaks to the Mercer Group every year and has a wealth of information to pass on. Most every county has an office on Area Agency on Aging and they not only help those who are aging but those who are disabled. He also hosts a radio show every Friday and once a year, usually November for awareness month, Betty, the Support Group Leader and I, Co-Leader, along with a sponsor (we rotate those) get to be on the radio and talk about Pulmonary Hypertension.
Next on the agenda was our Congressman but due to a conflict with the political race, he was unable to attend. He did however send his D.C. Legislative Aide, Kelly, whom I have worked with and talked with for several years. Kelly has been able to attend the PHA Legislative Luncheon's in D.C. and has always been there for me when I have one of my many issues -- usually it's the Pulmonary Hypertension and Research Act and asking for co-sponsorship of that bill. Congressman English has always been gracious enough to co-sponsor the bill for us and he also has been there for me with some of my other issues.
Kelly spoke to us about HR 6568 and how when presented to the House it passed without question. She also talked to us about HR 6331 -- the Medicare/Medicaid bill -- this one, although a different number, comes up every year and is amended as needed. She explained how important it is for us to call, write or email our politicians -- everything is logged in and read and passed on to the Representative. Those politicians do listen to us. So now we need to call our Senators and get them to co-sponsor HR 6568 -- it still isn't too late to call their D.C. office and their number is usually listed in the "blue" pages of your phone book.
That was on Thursday -- Friday morning my local State Representative had his annual "Expo" for his constituents. His area covers a few counties so has has 2 or 3 of these. Here again, a wealth of information. Tables for health spas, visiting nurses, State and Federal Insurance programs, educational programs/scholarships, 911, AARP, State Game Lands. A full spectrum of almost anything you could think of. Accredo had a table so Betty and I shared half of it and we set up with brochures and ran several CD's for and about PH. I didn't even get a chance to visit all the tables but I did come home with tablets, pens, pencils, nail files and even a mini flashlight; of course many brochures on all the whatevers that were there that I did get to visit. I would guesstimate about 50 vendors were there. I did make a point of stopping at the County Public Assistance table.
Now for the whoo hoo part. I saw many folks I haven't seen in years and this one man came to our table and said his doctor told him he has "some" pulmonary hypertension so he asked what it was. We of course told him. I mentioned that he looked familiar and asked his name, well whoo hoo, we have a mutual friend and we haven't seen each other in proably 15 years. Small world. He mentioned how he is becoming more and more sob. I gave him my phone number and told him to give me a call -- darn he just missed the SGM by one day. I then thought, why didn't you get his number... dah, another PH moment. I went out and looked for him -- now mind you, there were a few hundred people there by that time. I couldn't find him BUT he came back with some more questions, I got his number, also told him about the Symposium that CCF is having in November for Awareness Month and he is hoping he can go. He also goes to the Clinic for another health issue. He called me at home in the afternoon and I have mailed him info about PH -- his computer is down. It really makes you feel good when you know you have been able to help some understand the seriousness of this dastardly disease.
Well, I could write more of some of the happenings at the Expo but I'll save those for another time. Seems I write a novel when I want to keep it just short and sweet. Oh well, you'll have this.
Hugs to all ~ and smile, it's contagious....
Merle ~ OHPA