My Hospice Ambassador Spotlight: Paul Ledford
What My Hospice means is different to each individual and family we serve. For My Hospice Ambassadors, like Paul Ledford, it means acting as a leader in their state to support Medicare’s first coordinated care model and protect the Medicare Hospice Benefit.
My Hospice Ambassadors are hospice and palliative care professionals with an interest in advocacy who work with NHPCO to facilitate on-going outreach and relationship development with federal policymakers.
Here Ambassador Paul Ledford shares what My Hospice means to him:
Tell us a little bit about your role.
I have been President and CEO of Florida Hospice & Palliative Care Association for 15 years. We are a small association, so I am the lead on governance, public policy, regulatory affairs, and most external affairs. My primary responsibility is one of diplomacy between my members, the public, other sectors of health care, other associations, elected officials, agency policymakers, and the support teams of all of those groups.
How did you first get involved with hospice?
In my professional life, I had exposure and knowledge of various sectors of health care from both a regulatory and public policy standpoint, but no direct connection to hospice. My first hospice connection came when I applied for my current role at FHPCA in 2004. In preparing for the job interview, I consulted numerous hospice experts and realized just how unique a sector of healthcare this is.
What do you like best about your job?
There are a couple of things I really like about representing the hospice sector. One is the extraordinary members that I have the privilege to work with at the board, committee, and public policy levels. The other primary delight of this job is the fact that hospice is truly a “white hat” in the world of healthcare. Patient families describe hospice team members as “angels” and say things like, “we couldn’t have made it through this hard time without you.” It’s no wonder such a high number of people would recommend hospice services to others.
What motivates your advocacy and why do you think others should get involved?
This may sound corny, but I am motivated by Amendment I of the U.S. Constitution, which assures our rights to the following: free speech; free press; freedom to peaceably assemble; and our right “to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” All of those rights are intertwined in the right to petition the government and affect the outcome of decisions that can affect our lives and livelihoods.
I am motivated to advocate for hospice and palliative care issues because I earnestly believe in the demonstrated success of the mission-driven, team-based, patient-centered care we provide. The hospice model is one of the critical and most obvious solutions to healthcare shortfalls in this nation. I believe healthcare should be approached holistically before the end-of-life. This approach leads to better outcomes for patients, a better experience for caregivers, more satisfying and rewarding work for care providers, and an overall cost-savings to payers.
What does My Hospice mean to you?
My Hospice is a unique opportunity to be a leader in advancing a positive change to healthcare in this nation by serving as a diplomatic conduit linking the Hospice Action Network to the Congressional District level. My Hospice recognizes the personal relationships which exist at the local level and utilizes them to advance a big picture advocacy agenda. It is truly an honor to serve in this capacity.