Advancing the Behavioral Health Sector: Esme GrewalMay 6, 2022
What is your title and role?
As the Vice President of Government Relations, I lead federal affairs for the entire organization. Government relations is about making sure we have a relationship with government partners and federal and state officials. In my role, I work in that capacity at the federal level as the liaison between BrightSpring and all federal agencies like the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Labor, and any others that are core for us as well as the White House and Congress. Part of my role is also coordinating our business leader involvement with national organizations that we’re affiliated with or partners like trade associations, coalitions, or other groups that come together to raise their voices and issues in Washington, DC, for federal purposes.
How long have you been affiliated with the behavioral health sector?
On a personal level, I have two siblings with I/DD so advocacy for I/DD issues, services, and support have been central throughout my entire life. Professionally, I have been involved in the sector for about 20 years, starting while I was in college supporting people with disabilities.
In your current role, how do you try to impact the behavioral health sector and agencies?
We’re doing a number of things in government relations and federal affairs that are helping the sector and protecting it. Top of mind for government relations is monitoring and protecting the programs and services against threats, whether those may be regulatory or even addressing negative connotations of healthcare services in the media that may impact policymaking. Then offensively, we focus on how we can improve funding and access to services. With both these stances, we’re actively collaborating through our trade associations. Having been on both the association and provider sides, I know how important member input is to help these organizations coalesce around objectives and goals.
BrightSpring has also continued to establish its own reputation in Washington, DC, on the federal level, and that’s important to help lawmakers, policymakers, and agency career staff understand the impact we’re having on people’s lives. This not only benefits BrightSpring but also the services because we can show how we are changing the lives of constituents in every state. That’s very powerful and helps remove barriers and clear the way for I/DD programs to reach more people.
How do we help individuals with I/DD live their best life and how do our services impact them and caregivers?
We’re so often focused on value-based outcomes and social outcomes for people with disabilities, but what is not always recognized is the impact that the medical and pharmaceutical foundation of an individual’s care can have on their quality of life. The great outcomes we’re seeing and ability of folks to live in the community, work, and not have to rely on institutional care depends on what we’re delivering so they have what they need to make the non-medical side of their life their best life. The vision of the Americans with Disabilities Act is for these individuals to have equal opportunity, and that’s not possible if you’re not giving people with disabilities access to the best quality care.
What three things set us apart?
- Our accuracy levels. I’m so proud to talk about those on the Hill and in federal agencies because they directly impact an individual’s qualify of life.
- The company’s national knowledge. We’re across the country with a 50-state presence, and that is very helpful because we’re able to understand what individuals are experiencing across the country and quickly learn about what kind of innovation is emerging.
- That we’re mission driven. No matter who, from front line to top leadership, everyone has their focus on our mission and the individuals we support. It’s why we do what we do and it’s rewarding to be a part of.
What would you want an agency to say about us?
I’d want to hear that we’re dependable. Being accurate, timely, and responsive is so important and really changes people’s lives daily if not hourly. The second thing I’d want them to say is that we’re mission driven. That is one of the biggest compliments a provider agency can give our service because it means we’re not selfish, but are instead focused on the ultimate outcome of the individual and truly believe in making the healthcare system better for all Americans.