Dr. Marion and Honey Leveen (Photo courtesy of Honey Leveen)

For two days in July, I had the chance to participate in a very exciting pilot program supported by the 3in4 Association, the Texas Long-Term Care Partnership and the Texas Department of Health and Human Services.

I was one of ten Texas based LTCi specialists carefully vetted and trained to participate in this program by the 3in4 Association, Kirkland, Wash. The 3in4 Association is the group that has sent “Dr. Marion” — Marion Somers, an elder care specialist with a doctorate in gerontology — around the country in a bus to increase public awareness of the need for long-term care (LTC) planning and long-term care insurance (LTCI).

Our mission in Texas was to educate Texans on the how and why of responsible long-term care planning.

Our team was ready and prepared to do what we excel at, which is teaching the public about the risks of needing long-term care, and how to prepare responsibly for such an event.

Common Goals

The 3in4 Association and the Texas LTC Partnership are perfect partners because our goals coincide. Both organizations seek to increase awareness about the need to plan for long-term care.

The 3in4 Association has “feet on the ground” to carry this mission to the public, through education.

The Texas LTC Partnership — a state organization that encourages Texans to buy LTCI — does not, yet it shares our strong conviction about the need to convey this information to the public. 

The Seminars

For the LTCi specialist participants, the pre-seminar-series training involved not only learning how to teach the seminar, but also all aspects of our conduct.

The outreach consisted of 50,000 direct mail pieces to surrounding ZIP codes. The invitations were great looking. Recipients could register for a seminar by simply scanning a QR code or going to a special site, http://www.3in4needmore.com/texas-ltc-seminars, to register.

The seminars were scheduled to coincide with Dr. Marion’s 12-week, cross-country bus tour.

The seminar series started in Austin, on July 18 and July 19, and then continued in San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas/Fort Worth.

Although I attended only the Houston seminars, I am told that the Austin seminars were well attended, especially the kickoff seminar, given by Dr. Marion. Many of the senior staff of HHS attended and were able to see how organized, professional and effective we were.

While Dr. Marion was in Houston, her bus pulled up to the Oak Branch Public Library, the location for the Houston seminars. It was very exciting for me to finally see the bus in person.

The bus was built in 1967 by Greyhound and is very large and impressive, a sight that you can’t miss. I’m told it averages 5 to 6 miles per gallon, weighs 25,000 pounds and is converted inside to support A film crew and its editing needs.

I had time to visit with Dr. Marion while she was in Texas and I am convinced the 3in4 Association could never find a better spokesperson. She is warm, engaging, eloquent, and a true believer in our cause.

Here’s an example of some of the great press coverage Dr. Marion and the tour received while in Texas. 

We are not quite sure why we had paltry attendance at the Houston presentations. We have many theories. The location was convenient. The seminar itself is about 20 minutes long, with plenty of time afterwards for Q & A. It’s a fun seminar. The slides are concise; offer good content, and even contain humor.

Speaking on behalf of myself and my Houston teammates on this project, Grace Harrington, Mary Dillon, and Kevin Cain, we feel this project was a success, despite lackluster seminar attendance. Perhaps this is because we feel deep conviction about the need for reaching out to the public with this very important information.

Here are some comments from Jonas Roeser, president and founder of the 3in4 Association:

None of the success we have had thus far would have happened without your support. The hard part is over! As a group we have earned the trust of Health and Human Services of Texas (HHST) through transparency and selfless acts. We have built a unique program, marketed the program to the public and received national coverage for the effort. The only thing that seems to be missing is the willingness for large numbers of the public to step inside for our education process. I have been informed by a number of you that daytime seminars are a bad idea, night is better. Summer is tough compared to fall, do it when children are back in school, etc. Thank you for the feedback and for your willingness to continue to serve.

“Build it and They Will Come,” is a famous quote from the “Field of Dreams” movie. In time, this program will scale and be worth the time of LTC specialists who support them and the consumers who attended them.

I am hoping that this collaboration will be replicated over and over, not only in Texas, but in other states.