State Recognition for United Church Homes and Services

July 9, 2015

United Church Homes and Services (UCHS), headquartered in Newton, NC, was recently awarded the Excellence in Advocacy Award from LeadingAge North Carolina. The award was given at the 59th Annual Spring Conference.

The Excellence in Advocacy Award honors an individual or organization for exceptional achievement in advocacy that has advanced the non-profit mission, expanded the possibilities for aging; and/or improved the legal, public policy and/or the regulatory environment influencing the provision of aging services. United Church Homes and Services was recognized for leadership in advocacy for senior services across North Carolina.

When it comes to legislation that impacts seniors, United Church Homes and Services (UCHS) residents/participants and staff are quick to jump into action. A part of the UCHS philosophy is to inform, educate and advocate for the well-being of older adults. 2014 was a year of government cuts, decreases in reimbursements, and changes in tax policies. With a united voice, UCHS had boots on the ground contacting legislators. UCHS continuing care retirement communities, Piedmont Crossing (Thomasville, NC) and Abernethy Laurels (Newton, NC), quickly united their troops to set up call banks and email chains to connect with state legislators and discuss the significant change in the NC tax policy that negatively impacted the senior population.

Carolina SeniorCare PACE (Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly), a program of United Church Homes and Services located in Lexington, NC, also advocated state legislators for enhanced programs and services. Participants from Carolina SeniorCare traveled to Raleigh to share their collective voice about the importance of PACE and its influence on an unmet need. Staff schedule monthly visits to their elected officials to continue to advocate on behalf of the program. Aimee Reimann, Chief Operating Officer of UCHS, addressed the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services about PACE and its impact on the state of North Carolina. 

At the national LeadingAge conferences each spring, the UCHS senior leaders in attendance make a point to participate and make the visits to Capitol Hill to advocate on behalf of the elderly and the senior industry. Lee Syria, President and CEO of UCHS is often asked whether she feels these visits make a difference. Her response, "yes, and it is our responsibility as leaders. More importantly though the negative impact of not being seen and heard could be worse which is a chance we cannot afford." In addition, Syria serves as a member of LeadingAge NC's Public Policy committee.

United in voice, United Church Homes and Services is committed to taking a lead role in senior advocacy by addressing the challenges facing our aging population, quality of life, and unmet needs of the frail elderly.

United Church Homes & Services, a not-for-profit corporation located in Newton, NC, operates three continuing care retirement communities, a PACE (Program for All-inclusive Care for the Elderly), and seven affordable senior housing communities across North Carolina and Virginia. For additional information, contact Joy Cline at 465-8014 or visit our website at www.uchas.org.