Caregiving, Equity, Health Literacy, Insurance, Palliative Care
November Volunteer Spotlight: Tammy Taylor-Bufford
For our November Volunteer Spotlight, we are recognizing Tammy Taylor-Bufford, DNP, FNP-BC, originally from the Mississippi Delta region.
Tammy has volunteered with NPAF since 2015 and is a member of the volunteer advisory group. As a nurse practitioner, she brings NPAF’s campaigns, including #GetCovered and Be a Hero, Make a Plan, to her community while also bringing the perspectives of many of her patients to NPAF’s initiatives.
Describe the advocacy work that you’re doing in your community and what motivated you to start?
My patients motivated me to start. As a healthcare provider caring for patients and their families in the Mississippi Delta for over 10 years, I witnessed first hand how some of my patients with chronic cardiac conditions did not receive the care they so rightly deserved because of being underinsured or having no health insurance coverage. There were limited resources available to assist patients and their families. Patients with some form of health insurance coverage–the majority Medicare and Medicaid and few private payors–faced challenges with either paying their monthly expenses or purchasing their medications. Despite the many hats I often had to wear to try and help my patients, I understood my purpose for being there. More importantly, I felt a strong desire to be a voice for so many of my patients that often felt voiceless. As fate had it, I met Faye Hollowell, a fellow NPAF volunteer, at a PCORI meeting and shared with her my work in Mississippi and it was Faye who suggested I volunteer with NPAF.
During my time as a volunteer, I attended three or four Patient Congresses in DC, (before the COVID-19 era) representing the hospitality state. I met directly with my Representatives and/or their staff, asking for support on key pieces of legislation at either a federal or state level. I have played an active role, locally, in the open enrollment period for Medicare, during NPAF’s #GetCovered campaign. I can recall back in 2017, asking my Representative to vote “No” on the American Health Care Act that had the potential to strip health care coverage from 24 million people. I have been very vocal about the need for Medicaid expansion in the state of Mississippi. According to data from 2018, there are still over 350,000 Mississippians (14.5% of the population) without health insurance coverage.
Oftentimes, not having health insurance is a tradeoff people make because of affordability or access barriers. In 2019, I served as a panelist in the Addressing the Costs of Care Policy Consortium. Advocacy never stops regardless of what is happening in the world, so I was grateful to be involved in the “Be A Hero, Make A Plan Campaign,” speaking with my community at-large, family members, friends and particularly the younger generation about the importance of care planning particularly, during the COVID-19 era.
What advice would you give to volunteers who would like to do something similar?
Find out what is happening in and around your community that you are passionate about and get involved. It is easy to sit on the sideline, but it is much more rewarding to make a difference about issues that matters.
Since you’ve been a volunteer with NPAF, what are the three things you are most proud of?
- I was proud to have one of my patients travel to DC and serve as a panelist with me on the Costs of Care Policy Consortium Panel: Why are Cost of Care Conversations Important?
- I am proud to see the different opportunities for advocacy and grassroots organizing since joining and working with my NPAF family.
- I am proud to be chosen as the November Volunteer Spotlight for NPAF 2021.