Ladies and gentlemen, I stand here before you at a time in which the health
care of older Americans has become a critical issue. Or should I say
issues' We have more people needing more and more specialized care â€“ this
is critical. We have fewer and fewer people being asked to do more and more
â€“ that is critical. Current healthcare policy, especially for the aging,
seems inadequate to address the challenges of what lies ahead. The
situation seems very bleak at times. All signs seem to show that it will
get bleaker. Well, I am here to tell you that I am the weatherman. I have
weathered this storm with you. And I can tell you that the forecast looks
good, if we can just keep our eyes on what is important and understand what
tools we have to get through this, and overcome the challenges that the
next years hold for us.
I like to think of myself, when I think of myself, as the captain of
my own ship. And the ship that I am piloting through these new and
changing times of healthcare is definitely weathering some storms. As we
all know, the health status of our aging population is going to cause us to
rethink many of our set beliefs about providing health care to older
adults. I don'
Every single one of you here is here because you care for theelderly, or you care about the elderly, or you care about someone whocares. t just mean in the ways of policy, but also regarding ourcultural values. We can remind our patients who are goingthrough rough patches, their own perfect storm, that no matter how badlythey feel, no matter how lonely or isolated or displaced they may seem tobe we need to let them know that they are not alone. Buthere we are, and it is important that we remember every day that what weare doing is vital in the lives of our patients. Families can see whole lifesavings funneled away in the care of an elderly person. I wonder how many of you havebeen in this same situation yourselves' There can be a lot of frustrationa"" from family members who feel overwhelmed, from caregivers who feeloverburdened, from the elderly who are frustrated that they have to rely onothers to do the things they have been used to doing for themselves theirwhole live. It is our burden tounderstand that, in the coming storm, there will be fewer of us to goaround. Most Medicare patients will pay out of pocketabout 600 for their medications. You may lookat me, and think that I am crazy, but I am telling you that this is allgood news. We are caring for the patient,we are caring for the caregivers, and we are caring for the families andthe extended families. You may not know it on the worst day, or evenon the best day, but you are doing God's work here on earth. God is always withthem, as he is with us. When we simplydeal with our patients on a one-dimensional level, we are touching thebody.