Thursday, September 16, 2010

Promote Voter Turnout; Protect Long Term Care

By Deborah Franklin, FHCA Immediate Past President

Voting is one of the most important rights and duty we have as American citizens. I find no greater satisfaction then going into the voting booth and exercising my right to choose my representative government. Unfortunately, voter turnout is typically low. Some people choose not to vote because they do not like any of the candidates, some forget to make the time and some don’t vote because they are not even registered.

It is important that each of us take an active role in encouraging our staff, residents and their family members to vote in the November 2nd election. We need pro-long term care candidates in office who understand the important work we do in caring for our state’s frail elders, and voting is the single most effective way to make our long term care voices heard.

The Florida Division of Elections website has information for voters, including a link you can share to help your staff, residents and family members register online. The last day to register to vote in the November 2nd General Election is October 4th. Absentee ballots can be requested in person, by telephone, by mail or online via your local Supervisor of Elections offices, which can also be found via the Division of Elections website. The final day to request absentee ballots is October 27th.

As you know, we face many challenges our profession. Year after year, we are fighting to preserve Medicaid reimbursement to ensure our residents receive the quality care they expect and deserve. We are continuously working to educate lawmakers about the duplicative regulations we endure, many of which take your staff’s valuable time away from the residents’ bedside. By encouraging your staff, your residents and their family members to register to vote and go to the polls or mail in their ballot for this critical election, we can send a message that Florida and our nation needs leaders who will not abandon our state's seniors and the dedicated professionals who care for them each day.

Please help your residents exercise their right to vote and promote the importance of casting that vote among your residents, staff and family members. Our profession, your voice and the voice of those who work and are cared for in your facility depends on it.