Former SSA Commissioner to Counsel New Healthcare Service

Dorcas R. Hardy has been selected to serve as the Chair of the National Advisory Board for Early Bird Alert Inc., a healthcare company which provides a multitude of services to senior citizens and to the chronically ill.

Ms. Hardy’s career in public service began in 1970, when she served as a senatorial aide. Her first position with the federal government began in 1981, when she served as the Assistant Secretary for Human Development Services within the Department of Health and Human Services. She remained in this position until June 1986, when she was tapped by President Ronald Reagan to serve as the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration. (Interestingly enough, the announcement of Ms. Hardy’s position with Early Bird Alert Inc. was made on June 27, 2011, one day after the 25-year anniversary of the beginning of her tenure with the SSA.)

Ms. Hardy left her position with the SSA in July of 1989 in order to open her own consulting firm, DRHardy & Associates, which serves in the areas of government relations and public policy. She was also appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as chair of the Public Policy Committee for the 2005 White House Conference on Aging. Additionally, she is currently serving her third term of office as a member of the Social Security Advisory Board. She has authored Social Insecurity: The Crisis in America’s Social Security System and How to Plan for Your Own Financial Survival. She also heads up Work Recovery, Inc., a firm in Tucson, AZ, which specializes in rehabilitation technology.

Early Bird Alert Inc. is a healthcare company based in San Rafael, CA. While they offer a range of services for the aging population, their flagship product is the EasyConnect system.

A small telecommunications device which connects to a standard telephone line and telephone in much the same way an answering machine would, the EasyConnect provides one-touch access to the client’s healthcare providers, case manager, pharmacy, public transportation service, etc. The device also provides reminders to seniors to take their medications.

An additional important feature of the EasyConnect system is that it prompts a response from the client when they take their medications, and will send a message to a physician or other caregiver in the event that medications are missed. This technology can also be applied to other routine services such as Meals on Wheels, allowing notifications to be sent in the unfortunate event of medical or other emergencies. The primary benefit this device and the accompanying service provide is ease of use. Its simplicity and one-touch approach make it non-threatening for seniors to use, with large color-coded buttons with easy-to-read labels. The devices are provided to clients at no cost or obligation. Funding is provided through advertisements and through the program’s sponsoring organizations.

Given Ms. Hardy’s illustrious career of public service to our aging population, it would be difficult to imagine anyone being more qualified to lead the board of a company whose mission appears to be tailor-made to suit her experience.