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CORE VALUE FOCUS: WHAT UNRELENTING ADVOCACY REALLY MEANSSeptember 19, 2023
By Kate Abernathy, MS, RDN, LD, CMP, CCNP, Chief Executive Officer
and Joanne Norman, CMP, CCNP, Compliance and Projects Administrator
As part of our ever-evolving approach at Providers Choice (PCI), we go above and beyond for our providers. From ensuring you get the maximum reimbursement while maintaining the highest integrity to the Food Program Guidelines to interpreting and changing laws for your benefit, we support every aspect of your business. This dedication includes advocating for you at the highest level.
Policy change motivates usIndustries that work with children are highly regulated. There are many laws and policies to protect the children in your care, and they change often. When laws change or policies are announced, Providers Choice is at the forefront. We make sense of these new policies, and provide guidance to child care centers and home care providers on how it affects their business and those in their care.
For example, earlier this year the U.S. Department of HHS (Health and Human Services) declared the COVID public health emergency over. This means that the recent flexibilities and waivers for the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), along with Tier 1 and Tier 2 designations would be changing. PCI was there to explain this change, and answer any questions.
We also helped advocate for a waiver that allowed additional providers to participate in the food program - even if they weren’t typically allowed before. When the new meal pattern regulations changed in 2017, PCI was instrumental in helping providers understand the updates.
It doesn’t end there. We also recognize when laws or policies might not exist yet, but should. We work hard to get the laws you need created. And if something isn’t right for centers or homes, we advocate on behalf of our providers to help change things for the better. Things we want to see: every family child care provider getting paid at the same higher rate, reducing paperwork burdens and allowing child care centers to maintain yearly eligibility to participate on the CACFP.
Friends in the right placesAn important part of this advocacy is being aligned with the organizations and national partners who regulate and support this industry. PCI works closely with both the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Minnesota Department of Education. In fact, our CEO - Kate Abernathy - was recently elected to the National CACFP Sponsors Association board of directors, effective October 1. This appointment enhances our ability to advocate for children and providers, and continue the important work we’re doing.
Our providers trust us to secure their food program reimbursements, and support their overall business. Our dedication to advocacy helps build this trust.