September 30, 2017 Featured Content

A Conversation with Lance Robertson

Charlie Sabatino

Lance Robertson, the new Assistant Secretary for Aging and head of the Administration for Community Living, gave a glimpse of his personal side along with his professional roadmap in remarks before the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO) on October Raised by caring grandparents who instilled a sense of duty, he joined the Army at age 17, married his wife Lori in 1994, and set his path in gerontology on the faculty of Oklahoma State University for a dozen years. Along the way, he became a die-hard football fan of the OSU Cowboys, loved his academic life and family life, and was blessed with two daughters, Brooke and Kaitlyn.
Pubic life called in 2007 when he became Director of the Aging Services Division in the Oklahoma Department of Human Services where he served until his new appointment. During that tenure, he also served a term as President of the National Association of States United for Aging & Disability (NASUAD). Not much could pull him away from his home in Edmund, Oklahoma, except a call to serve at the top of the aging network in the federal government. His nomination was confirmed quickly in August of this year, and his first day of work in his new position was August 18. The following conversation between Lance Robertson and Charlie Sabatino explores his priorities for and approach to his new position.

 

Charlie: What's it like for a lifelong Oklahoman to leave your familiar stomping grounds to move to Washington D.C and assume the most important post in the aging network?

Lance: I’m a guy who's been born and raised and Oklahoma and has worked in this field most of his career. There were many years I kind of wondered if I would ever be afforded a chance to make a contribution to a higher level. Not that that was something I was at or after from my own personal gain but just for the sake of continuing my passion, which is helping older adults and individuals of disabilities. As you probably know I did that for ten years in the state of Oklahoma prior to this appointment, and I really have just felt so honored to be here.

Charlie: What are the biggest challenges you've run into so far in leaving a state unit on aging for this larger bureaucracy?

Lance: Now, seven weeks into it, I'll just be honest. I think there are a lot of similarities — probably more than I thought there would be. Certainly, there are some differences. Similarities of course would include things like you mentioned — bureaucracy that exists at all levels whether its local, state, federal — slightly different flavor at times and certainly the game is elevated a bit here. But, it's learning how to build those relationships that are going to prove to be the most important. It’s how you navigate the system, how you learn to be the most efficient and effective. So, that's a similarity that I found to hold true since my arrival.

Certainly, I had some background programmatically in the areas that we are responsible for at ACL, but just really appreciating now the diversity in breadth of what ACL is charged with has been really refreshing. You know it seems like every day at least once or twice during a briefing, I’m inspired by little program nuances or maybe sometimes entire little program focus areas that I had no idea about coming into this role. So, you learn a lot about your own agency. Of course, that’s part of the onboarding process.

Charlie: You mentioned relationships. How do you build relationships across all the diverse agencies that have an impact on aging?

Lance: Great question, and I think honestly the best way to do that is to get out of your office, walk down the street, go meet with folks. I’ve spent a lot of my time during the first seven weeks doing that. HHS, as everyone knows, is an incredibly large federal agency and — even within the structure of HHS — there’s limitless opportunities for me to build those relationships across operating divisions and to figure out how we can work more efficiently, more effectively, ways that we can leverage ACL’s value. For instance, I was in a meeting this morning with CMS and it was a timely and critical conversation about a particular Medicaid issue. By being able to weigh in to that conversation, I felt like it was just one more elevation in that role between ACL and a very critical partner, CMS. So, to your question, it takes carving out the time, making sure that you can go over there meet with folks; and when you do, I have found you always want to have a few “asks,” but make sure initially that you focus on relationship building — who they are, who I am, what I believe we can offer, a little bit of vision. Initially, to get that relationship off the ground, you keep it simple, but you really stress to them how excited you are about working together.

Charlie: So how would you describe your role in this big picture?

Lance: Well, I'm honored as the assistant secretary for aging and the administrator for ACL to be part of a great team. The team that we have assembled is remarkable not only in their commitment but also in the expertise they bring to our work each and every day. So, of course, my primary goal is to continue to put ACL in a position to be successful. Though, I'm not here just to continue turning widgets and presume a course that is somewhat already in place. I think, for all of us, we're both motivated and inspired to take things to the next level. I'm constantly working with my colleagues asking, what do we need to do more of; what do we maybe need to do a little less of; how do we evolve; how do we adapt, grow, become better. And, again, none of that is driven by any personal interests, but collectively and for those we serve. They need that.

Charlie: Did you have any reservations about com­ing here from your Oklahoma post?

Lance: I had no reservations. Now, I would certainly have to acknowledge that there are some anxieties, not reservations, but anxieties. You know, as we all know, there are some uncertainties ahead of us. Being in charge of ACL means having responsibility for two very large populations. And, as we all know, we are way behind where we need to be in terms of funding and support. There are a lot of critical conversations that are happening right now around health care and some anxiety around where ACL will land and what role will we play. My charge every day when I get up in the morning is to again push hard to position ourselves to be at the table and to have a very meaningful and productive role in whatever’s ahead. Not just with the existing portfolio of programs but with whatever else we can do to contribute to the betterment of the populations we serve.

Charlie: I know that in the few weeks you've been here, you’ve barely had time to put photos on the wall, but you did talk about four priorities of yours in your Senate confirmation hearings. Can you talk about those?

Lance: Yes, and thanks for that. I’m going to slightly modify them a bit, only because we are evolving the language. Going into the Senate confirmation hearing, I was very purposeful on how I articulated the flow of the four, so that they would resonate with senators. I’ll start with the one about abuse. I specifically used the phrase “elder abuse,” although it's not just about older adults who are abused. It's about abuse. As one of my pillars, we are going to remain committed to protecting rights and preventing abuse.

I think it’s a fundamental right of every American to not have to wake up and worry about what’s going to happen to them physically, psychologically, finan­cially. Most people know we have a lot of programs that we fund here through ACL We're very proud of the work we do on the abuse and prevention side. As one of the pillars, my commit­ment will be that we need to do more of it. I think as long as we have Americans who are suffering, we need to be there to do all that we can.

Is that a task we carry individually or solely at ACL? No. We’re working with a lot of great partners, your organization included, to make sure that we can do all that we can as a collective body. So again, as homage to what I know to be a very critical issue, one of the pillars will be preventing that that abuse and protecting rights.

Another big one is, of course, supporting families and caregivers. I myself have been a caregiver. I think we all recognize the economic value of what we’re talking about there. If we want to move the cost needle in terms of care in general, we need to be able to better empower and support caregivers. I’ve been a part of a lot of innovative program work around this issue in Oklahoma and even in my time in higher education. I’m excited about what we have in place but even more excited about where I think we can take some of those programs and initiatives.

“I think it’s a fundamental right of every American to not have to wake up and worry about what’s going to happen to them physically, psychologi­cally, financially.”

How do we continue to serve the 45 million caregivers that we have in America but do so in a way that’s even more meaningful than what’s been in place? You know a great example — we all understand the value of respite, but because of what funding levels have often been, we have caregivers, again referring to my home state of Oklahoma, who might get 30 minutes of rest for a month. Candidly, 30 minutes of respite a month is just not going to go very far.

Charlie: Maybe 30 an afternoon?

Lance: Oh, I would take 30 minutes an afternoon; I like your thinking there. Respite, we all know, is not the silver bullet, but I think it’s an example of where we can get bipartisan sup­port when it comes to care­giving issues. Everyone un­derstands and talks about the importance of doing what we can for caregivers. I think my job is to serve as a catalyst to help take those conversations and continue to put pressure where it needs to be when it comes to leadership conversations about really doing some great things. I’m going to harken back to a recent conversa­tion with CMS where I think we can, in helping them understand all things HCBS, help them understand the critical part of that caregiver equation. It’s more than just what sorts of services we can actually reimburse through Medicaid. It’s about how we more holistically approach the situation. So that’s the second thing.

The third thing really is a simple one, but so critical, and that’s information and assistance. When people encounter a situation for a loved one or maybe for themselves, where they need some help, our goal needs to be almost like that of a NASCAR pit crew — how quickly can we get in and help them. I think all of us have probably been exposed to situations where sometimes it’s just the little smallest bit of help that can make all the difference. I know, and I can recount story after story in my role in Oklahoma, of families who ultimately would institutionalize a loved one for the smallest things. And they didn't do it purposely or spitefully or because that’s what they wanted. They just had no idea that resources A, B, and C were out there. And had they known, they think back regret­fully, why in the world would somebody do that? But, I think in America we often are so myopic and focused on what's critical for us individually; we just must make sure that we can help educate folks in advance. That's part of it; and then at least to help them know when that time comes and they need to turn some­where. Let us help you out.

Charlie: I can tell you in my role in law that many people encounter those situations not knowing they have a legal right for something that wouldn’t be dif­ficult to demand if they had a little bit of help.

Lance: That’s right, absolutely.

I’m going to wrap up your question about the pillars. I’ll quickly go to my fourth one which is how do we continue to build our community-based network. I again have been a part of many a conversation where large federal agencies or other decision-makers talk about bringing online a network to do a certain function. And on many occa­sions, I’ve asked quite pointedly, why can’t we use ex­isting networks. I think within the aging and disability networks we have some tremendously talented CBO’s out there. We have individuals who are committed to doing more. What we need to do is make sure that we can sharpen their business acumen and have them be ready so that when big conversations begin to mani­fest opportunity, like with healthcare conversations, we’re going to fit in. And that again remains a commit­ment on behalf of ACL.

“Our goal needs to be almost like that of a NASCAR pit crew — how quickly can we get in and help them.”  

We’ve been doing acumen work now for five years or so and again, I think the momentum that we cre­ated there is outstanding. I believe it’s time to take it to the next level. And part of that is, we may have to have some tough conversations; this may not be a Noah’s Ark for everyone. We may just have to readily accept the fact that certain CBO’s are posi­tion ready, have the support, have the fiscal bal­ance, have the ability to really step up. Others may have to remain more at a network level and do the functions they’ve been doing for 35 years. So again, I think in leadership roles, it falls on us to have those conversations.

Charlie: Let me ask you a couple of follow-up questions about those priorities, starting with the last one on community-based services. You know there’s an old saw in politics that all politics is local. A colleague of mine says all good home community-based services are local, which I think I agree with. But, what we’re seeing in health and long-term care services generally, is larger and larger consolida­tions through managed care, multi-state and re­gional organizations, and they may be losing touch with local needs and local realities. Is there a way to bridge that gap?

Lance: That’s a big concern that most of us have carrying into these conversations. I know I saw it play out. I ran a very large waiver in the state of Oklahoma where we began to see the buyouts and we went from, oh, I want to say 180 providers be­fore I left down to 80. And it was because some of the bigger more opportunistic organizations started buying the smaller ones. Some of that's not bad. Matter of fact, some of that I think is healthy for the economy. Where your question goes is that balance. What I think we must reinforce — and I think it’s an integral part of our business acumen training and will be moving forward — is about the rela­tionship for those we serve. You know we all have experiences, whether it’s with your cable company or whoever, you call and you get some assistance from out of the country. We can’t fully support nor encourage models that distance the actual care provider to the recipient. So, I don't have a quick and easy answer for that, but I do want to reas­sure you and others that we're going to be mindful of that. It’s not about, in the pursuit of efficiency, going with as few providers as possible who then, all of a sudden, become less and less focused on the person.

Charlie: You point out it’s all about balance. There has been this effort for years now to try to rebal­ance the long-term care system towards home and community-based service. Have we plateaued on that or are we still moving forward?

Lance: Oh, I hope we haven’t plateaued. I’m afraid that with some, at least attitudinally, we’ve pla­teaued. But realistically, as you and I both know, no, we have not plateaued. There’s a lot more we can do. I think the conversation needs to continue state-by-state or community-by-community in some cases. I know in my experience at the state level, we would often get the sort of verbal support we needed when it came to rebalancing conversations; but candidly, it can be a struggle because of the political influence of certain groups, and sometimes because of the way funding is distributed even with federal funds. So, I think to your point, no.

Maybe it’s time to really kick into gear version two of that conversation. You know we have some good models out there. You and I both know there are some states that have rebalanced and have done it well. There are some states that are getting there, and then I think, candidly, there probably would be a third cluster of states that just aren’t even moving that direction. So, do we do we try trifurcate that conversation and focus on that third group, or what do we do? Somewhere in there is the right sort of balance and answer. To your point, we all know home and community-based services not only are the preferred way for services to be delivered, it’s also most cost-effective.

You know I know that in my recent conversations with our agency secretary. You know Secretary Price resigned last Friday, but I had great conversations with them prior to his departure; and I have some lined up now with the acting secretary to really reinforce the value of us continuing to emphasize home and community-based services. One charge that I’m trying to champion within HHS is within our agency — creating more of an HCBS conversation and council across all our operation divisions. Most of our operating divisions have some form of home and community-based service programs and initiatives, but we don’t talk to each other very well. So, during my tenure I hope to help be that catalyst where we can, at least within HHS, a very powerful federal agency, start to have those conversations and start to really agree on ways we can work better together.

Charlie: We have a huge clash between this aging demographic bulge and tight money at both state and federal levels. Does the private sector have any role in stepping in or are there other ways to meet these inevitable and growing needs?

Lance: Well, I think everyone has a stake in this conversation. I’ll be honest with you. Whether you’re a for-profit, or a faith-based organization, or a federal or state agency, we all need this to work. And as we move forward and try to meet the demand that we see demographically, not just for the older population but certainly for individuals living with a disability, both of these populations continue to grow. Funding at best is level, so your point is a great one. I think framed in your question is the charge. And that is, we all need to be at the table talking about this. Can the private sector have a role? Absolutely. Faith-based? Absolutely. A lot of different community-based groups? Of course. I would even expand that to embrace just about everybody that could play some role. Research institutions I think could play very cooperatively in that conversation, because as we all know they’re great at gathering that data and telling a story. I think that a lot of the different professional associations, not even just within HCBS but just at large, really need to understand and appreciate their role. At the end of the day, we need Congress to understand the value of this conversation.

Charlie: From what I understand, you’re an old hand at having to battle flat or reduced funding at the state level, so it’s not new to you.

Lance: It is not. And I will tell you, we were not al­ways successful in Oklahoma, but I was really proud that out of the ten years I served in that state execu­tive role, seven of the ten years I had to deal with cuts, and some years cuts were larger than others, but a cut is a cut. Nobody likes to have fewer funds to work with. What we tried to do, though, was just to identify ways to be better at what we were doing, to be more efficient and effective. But I think through that we really begin to value and appreciate the unity of purpose, our ability to really talk to individuals in decision-making roles about the value of what we did. And I will certainly admit those conversations didn’t just happen at the state level. We made sure they were happening at the local level, and then of course, here in Washington DC. So those are always tough con­versations. They’re not easy to have, and we all know that there’s a commitment of this administration to be better with our fiscal footprint in terms of working more efficiently and effectively. That’s our charge from the president. I don't know if that’s going to translate necessarily into budget cuts, but it’s going to force us to be more modernized in how we think and approach our work.

Charlie: Let me go back to one of your other priori­ties, abuse. Abuse is really a many-headed hydra with everything from commercial scams to family mistreat­ment, and even opioid abuse has an impact on this. In making that a priority, it seems that you really must have multiple strategies to chop off each of the heads of the hydra. Can you talk a little bit more about the way you see the challenges and the priorities?

Lance: Sure. It is a multi-headed Hydra, and we need to be all-hands-on-deck, continuing to pursue more effective and innovative ways to address the challenge of abuse. I think we all know, not to be too cliched, it does start with prevention. One thing that some of our programs do, and which we could do more of at the community-based level, is to begin to help individuals and families recognize situations that are developing into potential abuse situations, whether it’s financial exploitation, physical abuse, etc. I would bet we’d be hard-pressed to find a single individual who hasn’t either faced it or is facing it.

I know, interestingly enough, a side story. I had a call from my grandmother about a week ago in Oklahoma. She began to pick my brain — which was code for I have a problem that I need you to fix — right? Grandmas are good at that. She began describing for me what I quickly identified as some financial abuse happening within my own family. The reality is, we all have the ears to hear, and we need to listen to the people around us and pick up on things like that. If we can begin to build a larger cadre of individuals who know what to listen for, that helps on the prevention side, and I think that must be our continued commitment.

Another area on that multi-headed hydra is the collec­tion of data. We need to continue to work hard to get the right and timely data to be able to tell our message and to be able to advocate for funds and do what we need to do to move things forward. You know, a lot of folks I think are as excited as I am about our first reports that came out of the National Adult Mistreatment Reporting System or NAMRS. I looked at that, and I think it really demonstrates where we’re trying to go with that data collection and the fact that 54 of 56 states and terri­tories voluntarily contributed data. I think we’re getting there when it comes to the data side of it and I’m excited about that. I know on the APS side, we got to meet with some APS folks yesterday, and 44 states and territories reported opening investiga­tions for over 877-thousand clients. That is phenomenal. We know that number would be heavily underreported. Probably, for every case we’re aware of, there’s 10 more probably that we have no idea or no way to provide evidence that it’s happening. So we have a lot to do there.

And, I think the final thing is here within ACL. I’m excited to get to be a part of and to chair the Elder Justice Coordinating Council. You’re familiar with that and I think various folks that may listen to this are as well. But you know, for me, it’s something I knew about but hadn’t really had an opportunity to be plugged in formally. But now that I am, I'm re­ally pumped about where I think we can go. As I take on this chair role with my first meeting is later this month, I plan to call every person appointed to that Council in the next week or two and really have that initial conversation before we meet to tell them in this next chapter of EJCC, we all want to produce some very meaningful outcomes on how we can move the needle. If we’re going to slay that hydra, I think that the EJCC is an excellent example at the federal level of where we can get all the various partners across agen­cies to step up. We don’t want to be coming to meet­ings twice a year reporting out on data, talking about how egregious these issues are, but not doing any­thing. So, my charge when I when I sit down and call each one of these members is to say, please, please, please, let's come to the first meeting and let's be bold. Let's right lives. I’ve challenged our staff around here. During my tenure here, I don’t want to chase kittens, I want to ride lions. I want to make sure that all of us understand that each day is precious and we need to do all that we can.

Charlie: The newly enacted Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act, S. 178, was just passed by the House and Senate. It puts some addition­al fire under the feet of the Justice Department, in par­ticular, so I hope that’s one of the first folks you call.

Lance: I think it will be, Charlie, and I want to thank you and some of your col­leagues who continue to advocate not just for that specific piece of legislation, but for elder justice and prevention in general.

Charlie: Part of this hydra is the problem of abuse by fiduciaries particularly in guardianship. Have you encountered that with any degree of frequency in your state experience?

Lance: We did and, actually, we have a real champion in Oklahoma and she’s still there. I won't name her name, but she’s part of the Oklahoma Bankers Associa­tion. And for at least two decades this individual has really helped champion it from the financial institution angle, which I think really helped us advance some of the state-level initiatives in Oklahoma. I need to figure out, again still being pretty new, where all of that rests here in DC. You know how involved some of the folks are that represent the financial institutions. I don’t know, to be honest, as we sit here today, but I’m gonna find out.

“During my tenure here, I don’t want to chase kittens; I want to ride lions.”  

Charlie: Let me jump back to one of your other priori­ties regarding support for families and caregivers. The Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine) came out with a report a year ago (Families Caring for an Aging America), and by way of full dis­closure I was a member of that committee. Among its several recommendations was a recommendation for a National Family Caregiver strategy which is, in a way, what you’ve inductively been working on. Does it add any value to having a mandate for some kind of strategy? It doesn’t even have to be by legislation; it could be by ad­ministrative decision, too.

Lance: Well, I think undoubt­edly. I’m excited to be a part of those conversations. I cer­tainly can’t weigh in on what ought to happen through leg­islation versus through all of us rolling up our sleeves and sitting around a table. But, I do think that the time is now for us to begin creating a national dialogue to have a national plan — to really begin having some very pointed asks of different partners across all sectors on how we can better serve families family caregivers and families. We’ve had over the last couple of years several different pieces of legislation that have either been bubbling up or maybe potentially becoming a reality that I’m excited about, without naming those specifically. You know we are all going to be better when, as a country, we make this a top priority. We all know that across the globe there are some societies that have really focused on how they care for individ­uals in need, and we can learn a lot from them. I want to make sure that as Americans, we push towards becoming that global example of how to take care of individuals in need.

Charlie: One of the things that I learned on that committee was the data. Besides the sheer numbers of caregivers — at a minimum more than 17 million, some estimate twice that number — but more than half of them are employed, part-time or full-time. Have we made much progress in drawing in employ­ers and that whole part of the economy that has to rely on these employees who are doing dual service?

Lance: I think the short answer is no. I’m aware, as maybe we all are, of some best practices or some great companies that tend to support working caregivers. But as a society, are we there yet? No. I think that we really are missing a key piece and that is that private-sector voice. Undoubtedly, they know the impact it’s having on their bottom line. I think their struggle is that they just don’t know how to address it. That’s where I think the value of us being a part of that conversation comes in. There are ways of balancing on the social services side of it, which is our focus, with what we know is the reality of their purpose for existence — that is, the bottom line. So, what we need to do is marry together in that conversation how working through some of our programs formally, or at least allowing us to help on a more informal level, helps the private sector. I think it’s a winning equation for all. The company will win and, at the end of the day, that’s why they’re going to be at the table. Those that we care the most about — the families and caregivers — will win; and then ultimately, the person that is being cared for is going to experience better care. Hopefully, their caregiver will be less exhausted, less anxious. I just think everyone wins when we’re able to have that conversation. So, to your point, I think if I were to rank the least addressed areas, that remains one in my mind that we have got to get on top of, that is, this intersection with the public sector.

Charlie: Let me turn to one last topic that’s near and dear to my heart, as it’s what I do: legal services. We have all sorts of pieces to legal services out there for elders and persons with disabilities. We have Legal Services Corporation funded programs, Older Ameri­cans Act funded programs, protection and advocacy agencies, hotlines, pro bono services, law school clin­ics, emerging medical legal partnerships with hospi­tals and law schools. Do we have a plan?

Lance: I think in a way we do. In a way, it’s an evolving plan.

“...as a society people tend to overlook legal services as being critical.”  

I will say that as part of that plan, paying homage and recognition to what has been done in the past and acknowledging the work you mentioned, I think some very good program examples that are out there continue to be kind of that bedrock upon which we’re building this. I want to give a shout out in Oklahoma where for ten years I worked with arguably one of the best legal services developers in the country. Watching the passion and commitment that she brought to her work every day was inspiring to me; and I think that there are many like her out there that, once we can better support and build some supports around them in their role, we'll really see some things happening positively. I know within ACL, and you know, I’m just kind of learning more about the National Center on Law and Elder Rights and the fact that, as you know, we created this recently to be that streamlined, single point of entry to empower legal and aging professionals with resources and to help them serve the individuals who come to them for help.

I guess the more focused we can be in our efforts, we can be more efficient then in how we're delivering those services. To your question, though, we do probably need a better plan, and to continue to talk about how we can really move towards this single unified center or some way to be the most efficient in how we deliver that all-important legal service. I think as a society people tend to overlook legal services as being critical. I know by my humble observation, so many people just don't realize the absolute value that we play through all the funded programs in helping individuals work through legal issues — whether it’s for guardianship or custody, the sorts of issues for younger individuals, all the way up to older adults. Just a lot of opportunity there. Certainly, it needs to be a priority, and I’m looking forward to better understanding what we do, where the team’s focus is, and then how to work with outstanding individuals like yourself and your teams to see what we can we can offer.

Charlie: One of the areas that is a long-standing challenge is data. This whole facet, if I may suggest one area, may be where we could improve what we know, because there’s a lot that we don’t know.

Lance: Right. People always say data drives dollars and I think you and I know that. Your point’s a great one, whether it’s legal assistance or abuse, as we talked about earlier, having better on time and data value will help us in these conversations.

Charlie: You ended your talk yesterday before the LCAO by saying what you would promise the aging network. Can you restate it? As that really tells us where you're putting your foot down.

Lance: Yeah, I appreciate that opportunity. I think what I tried to end with in yesterday’s LCAO meeting was reemphasizing what I think everyone honestly needs to expect out of me and put that out on the table. What I told everybody yesterday was, I’m going to wake up every morning and absolutely give it all that I can, not only to help ACL be better at what we do and more successful, but certainly to empower and help build our networks. I think that that that’s a multi-faceted sort of task, and it starts with being that champion within this agency. I’m not talking about ACL; I’m talking about HHS. You know we are the piglet at the trough as we all know, not in terms of criticality or value or mission, but in reality, in terms of just program dollars and conversations. So, my charge is within HHS, and it also applies across federal government. You know I mentioned yesterday some key federal partners that I hope we can really build some meaningful relationships with — from DOL, HUD, to the VA, all these sorts of entities. Not that there’s not a relationship there already, but again to come in and ask that question about how do we take it to the next level. So, I will advocate tirelessly, continue to advocate tirelessly for the populations we serve and the programs we offer. I will do my best to be the voice that I think we need. And certainly, I’m excited about what’s ahead — excited to get to know you and to get to work with a lot of different partners across the network. It’s amazing having stepped into this role and, even yesterday at the LCAO, seeing all the different organizations that are involved in this. It is inspiring, phenomenal. I think it’s one of those, within society, kind of hidden secrets that really would be very impressive once people get to know more about what we’re all doing collectively.

Charlie: That’s great. Thank you for your time. I really appreciated talking with you.

 

 

Charlie Sabatino