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While there can be a divide between what matters to the average American and what matters to politicians, in recent years, healthcare has been on the minds of both. Ray Sierpina, Senior Vice President, Public Policy and Government Affairs for Kindred Healthcare, said the 2016 presidential race will continue the ongoing discussion about healthcare and healthcare reform. He added, though, that although 10,000 Baby boomers qualify for Medicare every day, candidates have yet to have a meaningful conversation about the future healthcare needs of this constituency.

Sierpina also noted the 2016 field is one of the most diverse - racially, culturally, geographically and economically - for both the Democrats and Republicans. He cited self-described democratic-socialist Bernie Sanders and real estate developer/reality TV star Donald Trump as noted examples from both sides.

He also says the short answer for how the evolving presidential landscape will shape policy development is: It won't. The reason is that the issues are complicated, often misunderstood and politically divisive.

However, Sierpina noted it doesn't mean we don't engage, it means the sales cycle is slow and it is more important to work through key staff and policymakers most responsible for influencing legislation and that Kindred will continue to advocate for what is best for its physicians, clinicians, and patients.

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While quick to point out that all the opinions he presented were his own and not those of Kindred, he also took time to share the Kindred advocacy elevator speech that he recites so often, he does so even in his sleep:

Kindred supports transitioning to a value-based system over the current volume-based system. Any post-acute care value-based purchasing program must be budget-neutral and considered within the context of a broader set of post-acute reforms that move away from the silo-based payment systems to a more patient-centered payment system consistent with the timelines established under the IMPACT Act.

Each year the Kindred Clinical Impact Symposium focuses on a topic to enhance clinical practice in the post-acute continuum and to maintain Kindred as a leader in clinical excellence. This seventh symposium focuses on effective care management and, specifically, fall prevention and medication management across the continuum. At this week's symposium, held in Louisville, Kentucky, national speakers discuss these topics broadly, while internal speakers bring it home to Kindred attendees from across the country.