Stockert stands up

‘Advocacy is a group effort,’ she says
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Friday, May 24, 2019

WASHINGTON – When you say Barb Stockert, the recipient of the 2019 AAHomecare/Mal Mixon Legislative Advocate Award, lives and breathes advocacy, it’s not a cliché.

Stockert, who received the award at last week’s Washington Legislative Conference, tells the story of how she and her husband were in a casino years ago and they found out it was so crowded because Kent Conrad, a U.S. senator at the time, was there.

“A bell went off in my head, ‘Ding, ding, ding, I’ve got to do something,’” said Stockert, who works in government relations for Sanford HealthCare in Bismarck, N.D. “I approached him there and it was the start of a relationship that we had down the road.”

Here’s what Stockert—a long-time member of AAHomecare’s State Leaders and HME/RT councils, and the contact for more than 20 congressional offices for the association’s Grassroots Accountability Project—had to say about why she’s always thinking about the people who need HME and the companies that serve them.

HME News: In addition to AAHomecare, you’re involved in NRRTS and three state and regional HME associations, including MAMES, where you’re the co-state chairperson for North Dakota and a member of the board of directors. Why is advocacy so ingrained in you?

Barb Stockert: I enjoy what I do, and I love this industry. And I really want the best for the people we serve and if you want that, it all goes hand in hand, including regulatory and legislative work. It all works together.

HME: How does advocacy help get “the best for people”?

Stockert: You have to make Congress and CMS and Medicaid understand that there are people who can’t speak for themselves. These people have to accept what the government tells them they have to accept, and it’s not right. There are things that need to be changed, and they need someone to help them change it. That’s where all of these groups come into play. There’s so much passion and commitment.

HME: When you look at what you’ve accomplished in your advocacy work over the years, what sticks out?

Stockert: I think it has to be the professional friendships that I’ve made along the way and the lessons I’ve learned. I think about how MAMES taught me this and VGM this and AAH this. I have someone to thank at every one of those levels, as well as the people I work with, who want the same things as me. Advocacy is a group effort.