2020 Legislative Priorities: An Exciting & Anticipatory Year for GAO States & the National Home Care Industry

2020 is gearing up to be a monumental year for BAYADA’s Government Affairs Office (GAO). GAO directors and Chief Government Affairs Officer Dave Totaro have worked diligently with BAYADA leadership to agree upon this year’s legislative priorities. Check out GAO’s state-by-state priorities below! To find out more about your state’s issues and how you can get involved, see the list of state GAO directors and associates within the article.

FEDERAL
Chief Government Affairs Officer Dave Totaro
Federal Affairs Associate Victoria DeLone

#1: Support PQHH and NAHC to pass the Home Health Payment Innovation Act

  • Eliminates behavioral assumptions to set reimbursement rates and limits changes in reimbursement to +/- 2% in any year
    • BAYADA impact: $12-15 million
    • Practice: Home Health

#2: Support the passage of the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act

  • Allow non-physician providers to certify a patient’s eligibility for coverage – including face to face requirements
    • BAYADA impact: TBD (awaiting score from CBO)
    • Practice: Home Health

#3: Introduce and pass the Home Care Access and Savings Act (H-CASA)

  • Modernizes the Medicaid program through quality, efficiency, and integrity improvements
    • BAYADA impact: Policy only
    • Practices: ACSP and SNU

NORTHEAST REGION
Area Director Louise Lindenmeier (NJ, RI, NY, MA)
Director Ashley Sadlier (RI, NY, MA)
Associate Marissa Fogal

NJ

#1: Secure increase for PCA to offset minimum wage increases in 2021 by $3 per hour

  • BAYADA impact: $7.2 million
    • Practice: ACSP

#2: Increase the state fee for service rate for RNs and LPNs by $10 per hour in Private Duty Nursing and set a minimum rate floor for managed Medicaid.

  • LPN increase of 26.3% from $38 per hour to $48. RN increase of 20% from $50 to $60.
    • BAYADA impact: $19.1 million
    • Practice: SNU

#3: Pass legislation to mandate commercial insurance to cover PDN

  • Impact: Potential savings of $50-70 million for state Medicaid dollars
    • Practice: SNU

NY

#1: Gain NYC Department of Education’s Request for Proposal to achieve status of “approved vendor” to provide school nursing services in the New York City boroughs

  • BAYADA impact: $429,000
    • Practice: SNU

RI

#1: Pass legislation to ensure clients turning 21 have continuity of care 

  • BAYADA impact: $1.1 Million
    • Practices: SNU and ACSP

#2: Defend Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for Medicaid Home Care/Hospice rates

  • Governor has proposed an additional 5.9% increase for skilled nursing and CNA services in the 2020-2021 budget, effective 7/1/2020
    • This proposal must still go through the legislative decision-making process, with the final budget set to be signed by the end of June 2020. GAO will continue to monitor its progress and advocate for this increase
    • CNA Current Average: $25.51 à $27.02 (+$1.51)
    • LPN Current Average: $47.79 à $50.61 (+$2.82)
    • RN Current Average: $54.20 à $57.40 (+$3.20)
    • BAYADA impact: $219,791
    • Practices: SNU and ACSP

#3: Secure an increase for Medicaid FFS reimbursement rates

  • 16.3% increase from $25.52 to $29.67
    • BAYADA impact: $431,912
    • Practices: SNU and ACSP

#4: Secure a rate floor for Managed Medicaid rates so they cannot be below the set Medicaid FFS rates

  • BAYADA impact: $163,000
    • Practices: SNU and ACSP

MID-ATLANTIC REGION
Area Director Laura Ness (PA, DE, MD, IN)
Associate Director Rob Lattin (DE, MD, IN)
Senior Associate Maggie Tracy

DE

#1: Secure an increase for PDN LPN and RN reimbursement rates

  • 21% increase from $46.14 to $56.01 for LPNs, and 21% increase from $51.50 to $62.51 for RNs
    • BAYADA impact: $5.3 million
    • Practice: SNU

MD

  • Protect the yearly rate increase for LPNs providing private duty nursing.
  • BAYADA impact: Unknown
  • Practice: SNU

PA

#1: Secure an increase for Personal Assistance Services under Community Health Choices

  • 8% increase (dollar amount depends on MCO)
    • 2019 goal was a 10% increase, and a 2% increase was secured. Thus, the 2020 goal is to obtain the remaining 8%
    • BAYADA impact: $3.2 million
    • Practice: ACSP

#2:  Pass legislation to allow Deemed Eligibility for home care

  • BAYADA impact: Unknown
    • Practices: ACSP and AN

#3:  Eliminate the requirement for nurses to call home health aides every two weeks

  • BAYADA impact: Unknown
    • Practice: PED

SOUTHEAST REGION
Area Director Lee Dobson (NC, SC, GA, MO)
Director Melissa Allman (GA, SC, MO)
Senior Associate Lindsey Wright

GA

#1: Secure a 6% increase for all Medicaid nursing services

  • BAYADA impact: $426,862
    • Practice: SNU

NC

#1: Secure an increase for nursing under Medicaid’s PDN Program–

  • 13.6% increase from $39.60 to $45
    • BAYADA impact $8.4 million
    • Practice: SNU

#2: Secure an increase for aide wages under Personal Care Services, Community Alternatives Program, and CAP for Children

  • 18.6% increase from $15.60 to $18.50
    • BAYADA impact: $1.89 million
    • Practice: ACSP

SC

#1: Secure a 10% PDN rate increase, effective July 1, 2020

  • The state recommended a 15% increase effective July 1, 2020. After further advocacy efforts focused on the urgent need for an immediate increase, DHHS issued the initial 5% increase, effective January 1, 2020. DHHS is committed to including the remaining 10% to be effective July 1, 2020. If the provision is passed into law as planned, then PDN services will see a total 15% increase from 2019 levels (5% increase effective January 1, 2020, and an additional 10% targeted for July 1, 2020).
    • BAYADA impact: $690,000
    • Practice: Skilled Nursing

#2: Secure 24% for RN and 35% for LPN increase for Medicaid nursing waivers

  • BAYADA impact $1.16 million
    • Practice: Skilled Nursing

#3: Secure a 10% increase for Personal Care Waivers

  • BAYADA impact: $158,000
    • Practice: ACSP

GRASSROOTS ADVOCACY & PUBLIC AFFAIRS
Grassroots Advocacy Senior Manager Mike Sokoloski
Public Affairs Senior Manager Alisa Fox

Grassroots Advocacy: In 2020, the GAO Grassroots Advocacy team is seeking to further enhance the Ambassador program by creating a new “Senior Ambassador” role in order to have seasoned advocates guide and mentor newer advocates. Senior Ambassadors will also be able to attend special and strategic events in order to hone their skills and to advise GAO on issues their office(s) see. If you would like to learn more about the Ambassador and/or the Senior Ambassador program, or how you can get involved in advocacy, contact the Grassroots Advocacy team at msokoloski@bayada.com.

Public Affairs: Following the success seen in 2019, BAYADA has expanded its public affairs program to open up resources for smaller states that may benefit from a public affairs campaign. In first quarter, BAYADA has employed three campaigns thus far: A campaign to increase PDN and PCA rates in New Jersey, a campaign to further increase PDN rates in South Carolina, and a campaign to create regulations in Rhode Island to ensure that medically-complex children aging out of the pediatrics program can continue to seamlessly access care. Other states that may soon be seeing public affairs campaigns are: Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, and Pennsylvania.

Public Affairs: BAYADA’s First Full Year of Full Time Public Affairs Efforts Secures Media Attention and Contributes to Legislative Wins!

BAYADA’s public affairs program has generated public and legislative awareness about home care, its importance in communities across the country, and the issues clients and families face accessing care due to low state reimbursement rates.

BAYADA has used public affairs efforts throughout the past several years. That is—in states where GAO and state leadership knew that increased public awareness and engagement would reinforce a strong lobbying message, GAO deployed these efforts, which resulted in increased legislative & regulatory pressure on BAYADA’s key issues. This was particularly true where BAYADA, home care recipients, and the industry needed rate increases to stay sustainable and to be able to recruit and retain enough caregivers to meet clients’ demand.

2019 was the first year that BAYADA invested in a full-time public affairs program. Here, public affairs staff executed several state-specific campaigns to further BAYADA’s legislative agenda, as well as an “umbrella” campaign to highlight the challenges seen regularly on the national home care and home health care front.

GAO enlisted public affairs firm Regan Communications Group (RCG) full-time to put clients’ and caregivers’ stories in the spotlight. No easy task, especially as media and newsworthy issues tend to change minute-by-minute, RCG regularly delivers by getting GAO’s legislative message out via broadcast, print, and non-traditional media outlets. As a result of full-time public affairs efforts in 2019, state governments heard us loud and clear, and often made policy changes in order to help alleviate the issues BAYADA staff, clients, and families faced.

Below, see a list of media that BAYADA’s GAO was able to gain through its partnership with RCG in 2019:

Federal/Industry-Wide

Home Health Care News: Immigration Reform, Minimum Wage Increases Top of Mind for BAYADA

Home Health Care News: Medicaid legislation introduced in Congress

STAT News: Health aides’ low wages threaten home health care, a necessity for millions

Modern Healthcare: More middle-income seniors face financial insecurity

Home Health Care News: Industry Insiders: Don’t Overlook CMS’s Dual-Eligibles Directive

Home Health Care News: Immigration “Pathways” Vital to industry’s future

Home Health Care News: BAYADA Hits 1M Clients Served. Here’s Why Hitting 2M Will be More Difficult

Modern Healthcare: Nursing home staffing levels often fall below CMS expectations

Everyday Health: Demand on the Rise for Home Healthcare

Authority Magazine: The Future of Healthcare: “First and foremost, reprioritize long-term care into the home setting” with David Totaro of BAYADA Home Health Care

Delaware

Delaware Public Media: Advocates call on state lawmakers to raise Medicaid reimbursement rates

Delaware State News: BAYADA Pediatrics director awarded national honor for advocacy work

Indiana

RTV 6: Hoosier families want more resources for home health care

WTHR 13: Gasping for Care: Indiana families desperately seek care amid home nursing shortage

New Jersey

NJTV & NJ Spotlight: Shortage of Home Care Nurses on Horizon

My Central Jersey: NJ’s shortage of private duty nurses taking toll on families

NJ 101.5: A home health care nursing shortage is looming in NJ

NJ Star Ledger: Prefer to age at home in N.J.? It will soon be even harder | Editorial

Pennsylvania

Bucks County Courier Times: BAYADA Home Health Care’s Langhorne office recently nominated Melissa Husted, of Morrisville, and Winnie Gittens, of Philadelphia, for the Pennsylvania Home Care Association’s 2019 Direct Care Worker of the Year Award

PennLive/Patriot News: Advocates call on lawmakers to make home-based care services more accessible for seniors and disabled

Generocity: BAYADA transitions from for-profit to nonprofit to save its mission-driven culture

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: An old refrain: Better wages, conditions a must for direct care workforce

PennLive/Patriot News: An opportunity to do the right thing for vulnerable Pennsylvanians: Raise home health aides’ wages

WXPI & WPGH: Lack of home health care aides impacting local patients

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Increase funding for home care providers

Pittsburgh Tribune Review: Donna Pierantoni: Home care crisis’ impact on disabled adults, seniors

Rhode Island

Valley Breeze: Aging Out: Local family says vulnerable son fell through state’s cracks

Valley Breeze: Family frustrated after near-miss on losing care hours

Providence Business News: Anxious R.I. families await decision on special medical coverage

South Carolina

Post & Courier Gazette: Lowcountry home health care experts speak on the need for more workers in the field

Summerville Journal: Helping Mason: Family of Police Officers with Sick Child Loses Home Nurse Right Before the Holidays, need to raise Medicaid Reimbursement Rates in SC for 2020

Client Spotlight: BAYADA NJ Client Jim Davies Turns Home Visit into an Opportunity to Fight for Nursing Coverage

BAYADA client Jim Davies (center, seated) hosted a home visit with Assemblyman Benson (upper left)

When BAYADA Home Health Care client Jim Davies received a notice in the mail last year that his insurance would be transitioning to another agency, he tried not to panic. After all, the letter stated there would be no change, he would still receive coverage for his home health care nursing and personal care home health aide services.

However, Jim was not convinced. The 66-year-old, who suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of a diving accident 20 years ago, is nearly paralyzed from the neck down. He relies on his nurses for his complex medical needs, which include wound care, range of motion exercises, mechanical transfers to and from bed, medication administration, catheter care, and care to prevent a serious complication called autonomic dysreflexia, which can lead to seizures, stroke, or even death.   

As a former sheriff and local fire commissioner, Jim is used to working collaboratively with others to make things happen. That’s why he immediately called a case manager at the insurance company, who reiterated what was explained in the letter, his home health care coverage would not change.

Coverage denied

Fast forward to the end of the year when Jim received another letter, this time from the new insurance company. Despite written and verbal assurance that his coverage would not change, the new company denied his home health care services, insisting Jim was stable enough and no longer needed nursing care.

Jim reached out to his BAYADA Mercer County Adults (MCA) office Director Meghan Hansen and Clinical Manager Sharon Wheelock who appealed the decision on his behalf, to no avail. That’s when they turned to BAYADA Government Affairs Area Director Louise Lindenmeier, who suggested Jim reach out to New Jersey Assemblyman Daniel Benson, a member of the state Health and Senior Services Committee.

Legislative home visit leads to positive change

“When I called Assemblyman Benson’s office, I wasn’t sure what the response was going to be, but I was pleasantly surprised,” says Jim. “The assemblyman made me feel that as his constituent, my problem was a major concern, and he owned it.”

Assemblyman Benson visited Jim and his wife of 40 years Rosemary at their home to witness, first-hand, the critical role home care nurses play in Jim’s health and well-being. During the visit, Assemblyman Benson also learned about the catastrophic medical consequences of stopping Jim’s nursing care and BAYADA’s unsuccessful efforts to appeal the denial from the insurance company.

Following the visit with Jim, Assemblyman Benson jumped into action. He joined BAYADA Managed Care (MCO) Director Pamela Soni, BAYADA Area Director for Pediatrics Managed Care (MCP) Stephanie Perna, and Louise for a meeting with the NJ Department of Banking and Insurance to discuss Jim’s case. In addition, he personally contacted the insurance company to negotiate the contract, resulting in a reversal of the denial. Thanks to his efforts, the issue was resolved within two weeks.

“It is really important to educate politicians on how insurance changes can impact their constituents,” says Jim, who encourages others in similar situations to reach out to legislators who may be more than willing to help. “Assemblyman Benson should be recognized for his prompt and professional response to my needs.”

Assemblyman Benson considered it a privilege to play a role in helping Jim. “It was my honor to work with Mr. Davies to ensure that he received the care he needs and deserves,” he says. “As legislators, it is our sworn duty to represent our constituents, and that means lending our assistance whenever possible, whether by simply cutting through red tape or elevating a situation to a higher level so that it is promptly addressed. I would encourage those in need to reach out to their elected representatives to learn what they can do for them.”

Want to Help Make a Difference: Register for Hearts for Home Care

Whether you can give a minute, an hour, or a day, there are many ways to get involved in advocacy. It can be as simple as sending a pre-written email to your local legislators, hosting a legislator in your home, or attending an event at a legislator’s office or your state capitol.To learn more, consider becoming a “Heart for Home Care” advocate. It only takes five minutes to register at heartsforhomecare.com. You’ll receive email updates about current issues and opportunities to make your voice heart.

Grassroots Advocacy: GAO Ambassador Program Completes an Expansive and Record-Breaking 2019!

Southeastern Ambassador Academy 2020: BAYADA’s Hearts for Home Care Ambassador program has been growing steadily each year

Each year, more and more of GAO’s efforts are successful due to the increase of our collective voice: That is, the united voice of our clients, families, employees, and industry partners. GAO staff can only do so much alone—it is our Hearts for Home Care (H4HC) Ambassadors and advocates who help to bring the message to legislators loud and clear.

And our Ambassador program continues to grow every year. In 2019, 335 BAYADA employees and caregivers served as Ambassadors—a 28% growth over 2018! Not only is the Ambassador program growing and expanding each year, the culture of advocacy is growing across the company. That is, Ambassadors are increasingly getting their coworkers and clients involved in advocacy efforts, and BAYADA and the home health care industry as a whole are seeing how their voices help make a significant impact.

In 2019, GAO saw a major expansion of the Ambassador program. Traditionally, each GAO state director would host an annual Ambassador Training day. After extensive research and development, GAO expanded and enhanced the program by hosting seven revamped on-site Ambassador academies, ten 30-minute educational Ambassador zoom sessions, and eight on-boarding sessions for new Ambassadors. Additionally, GAO developed the curriculum for, and hosted, the first-ever Advocacy Bootcamp during the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) annual conference in Seattle, Washington. Here, GAO taught and trained other providers on BAYADA’s “best-in-the-industry” grassroots advocacy program.

The Ambassador program continues to grow every year in number and in recognition. In 2019, BAYADA’s grassroots and Ambassador programs were recognized as one of the most impactful in the entire home care industry. In 2019, Ambassadors continued to lead home visits, legislative roundtables, and office visits with legislators.

THANK YOU to all our Ambassadors
We would not be successful without you!

GAO MD: 30% Increase to All Home- and Community-Based Services through 2025!

Client and family advocacy helped to bring MD’s dire need for a rate increase to the Baltimore Sun’s front page

Due to GAO’s advocacy efforts and that of our clients, employees, and industry partners, the Maryland legislature voted to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates for all home- and community-based services by 30% over the course of six years! In addition to traditional lobbying and grassroots advocacy efforts, the skilled nursing unit collaborated with GAO to deploy a public affairs campaign that led to home care clients’ stories being published in the Washington Post and Baltimore Sun, thus further showing legislators and the public the dire need for a Medicaid rate increase.

This monumental increase will enable BAYADA to compete for approximately 50% of the state’s LPNs, who are currently more attracted to hospitals and other settings where wages are higher. This in turn will enable BAYADA to better fulfill its vision of serving millions of people worldwide.

GAO anticipates that, as a result of this increase, the skilled nursing unit will open an office in 2020.

GAO Federal: Advocacy Spares BAYADA’s Home Health Practice $11 million Annually

GAO’s 2019 Federal Affairs Team with Senator Tom Carper (D-DE)
  • BAYADA GAO’s federal affairs team supported both the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare (PQHH) and the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) in lobbying both Congress and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to reduce the reimbursement cut mandated by the Patient Driven Groupings Model (PDGM) from 8.36% to 4.06%.  This reduction in the rate cut, effective January 1, 2020, saves BAYADA more than $11 million in annual gross revenues.  While the industry was successful in having the reimbursement cut reduced by more than 50%, it still faces further cuts based on behavioral assumptions.  This partnership of BAYADA and national associations will continue into 2020 with the goal to eliminate any further cuts made based on assumed behaviors and limiting future reimbursement cuts and increases to 2%.  
  • BAYADA led the Partnership for Quality Home Health’s (PQHH) first annual Home Visit Program by providing specific guidelines so that the industry continues to be consistent in its efforts to educate legislators on the value of home health.  Each quarter BAYADA was represented in several tactics (office visits locally or in Washington D.C., action alerts, town halls, comment submissions) that essentially led to the reduced reimbursement cut, and led a federal home visit in Florida with Congressman Vern Buchanan (R-FL). BAYADA continues to be recognized for our grassroots efforts on a national level within the industry.
  • GAO, along with the Hospice Action Network (HAN), lobbied MedPAC and successfully reversed MedPAC’s recommendation to cut hospice reimbursement in 2020 by 2%, saving BAYADA a potential revenue loss of nearly $1.5 million in 2020.

Hockessin, DE mom Karen James takes new senator Laura Sturgeon on an impactful pediatric home visit

Karen and Natalie have become strong home care advocates, and recently visited the state house to make their voices heard

BAYADA DPN client 8-year-old Natalie and her mother Karen recently hosted newly elected state Senator Laura Sturgeon (D-Hockessin) in their home. After hearing that Senator Sturgeon was a school teacher with 23 years of experience whose campaign trail promises included advocating for children, Karen knew that a home visit would be an ideal opportunity to educate the new senator on home care and how it enables so many Delaware children to grow up safely at home.

The visited started with a tour of Natalie’s bedroom, where Karen explained each piece of specialty equipment to the senator—from the hospital bed Natalie sleeps in, to her feeding pump, pulse/ox machine, oxygen tank and suction machine, as well as Natalie’s medications and their monthly stock of supplies. Senator Sturgeon was taken aback—she didn’t realize how much a family had to learn when caring for a medically-fragile child.

Afterwards, Natalie, Karen, and the senator then gathered at the kitchen table to discuss what legislative supports families like theirs need to be able to stay together at home. Karen was ready with the answers: Support higher reimbursement rates for in-home skilled nursing services and direct support professionals. She told Senator Sturgeon how happy they are with the care they have—a RN accompanies Natalie to school and to summer camp—but was honest about the number of nurses who are leaving home care to work for higher wages in hospitals. Natalie’s nurses have quite literally saved her life and Karen knows the nurses she trusts with Natalie’s care may have to do so again in the future. Children like Natalie thrive better in a stable environment with reliable, consistent nurses—and a situation where there is a revolving door of nurses can put her in a dangerous situation.

“Natalie can’t attend school if she doesn’t have a nurse with her. School nurses are busy already with managing students with asthma, diabetes, or severe food allergies, and ensuring Natalie’s medication schedule is met every day would be too much without the support of a stable and dedicated RN,” said Karen.

Senator Sturgeon became one of the best Champions for Home Care in the legislature this year. Having no personal or previous experience with medically-fragile children, the time she spent with Natalie’s family made a huge impression on her. Through the last weeks of session, she was one of the most vocal proponents of increasing skilled nursing rates to ensure that we can continue to recruit and retain the highest quality nurses to take care of people like Natalie.

“I know how incredibly time-consuming and overwhelming it can be to raise a medically-complex child. I feel that it’s our duty as parents to get involved in advocacy on behalf of our own children, and on behalf of the many others that don’t have a voice,” said Karen. “I am deeply touched that the hour Senator Sturgeon spent at our house made such an impression on her. I hope that parents across the country get involved in advocacy. It’s critical that we unify our voices in support of the care that helps keep children like Natalie thriving at home.”

In talking about this experience, Karen recommends that other families:

  • Talk with their elected officials calmly and respectfully.
  • Present the facts, staying on message but being honest about how much you do for your child. 
  • Be sure to remind your senator or representative that your child represents the state’s most vulnerable population.
  • Remember that party status shouldn’t matter because elected officials are public servants. Even if you disagree with them on some things, they’re open to learning more about medically-fragile children, so thank them for that and for their help. 
  • Be direct and tell them which bills you want them to support or oppose.
  • Always thank them for their service to your state. 

BAYADA is encouraging more employees to involve clients and families in advocacy this summer by coordinating home visits and inviting local legislators to clients’ homes.  We’ve seen time and again how these visits, usually no more than an hour in length, have changed legislators into advocates and advocates into Champions for Home Care. As we continue to press for higher reimbursement rates, we need more of our legislators to understand these issues personally and to get to know their constituents who rely on BAYADA’s care to live safely at home.

If you want more information on how to host a home visit, contact Mike at  msokoloski@bayada.com or reach out to your GAO Director.

The Summer of the Home Visit: Across NJ, FL, and PA, home health care offices are hosting amazing visits!

Across our BAYADA states, offices and clients are engaging in advocacy through impactful home visits!

Clients and family members have been stepping up and opening their homes to help legislators better understand the vital role that home care plays in their lives. In collaboration with our Hearts for Home Care Ambassadors, in the last few months, six families in four states have taken the opportunity to educate their lawmakers and take a stand for home care.

The visiting legislator is hearing first-hand the problems clients are facing and it makes the issue about real families facing real problems – not about facts and figures.

NJ client Carly H. and her mother Lori hosted Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez on a visit in their home earlier this year. Carly, who has spinal muscular atrophy and is attending Rutgers University with the assistance of her home care nurses, was able to boast that due to her nursing care at home, she has never needed to be hospitalized.

The family of client Unzilla Z. in Egg Harbor, NJ was extremely candid about the challenges they face during their home visit.  Assemblyman Armato shared that to “hear” through emails and calls are one thing, but the impact of “seeing” what families face is beyond compare.

Pennsylvania state senator Mario Scavello visited East Stroudsburg resident Mrs. Mliss S. to learn about the merits of hospice care. Smith, who receives end of life services from BAYADA Hospice in East Stroudsburg, welcomed the opportunity to meet her senator. Senator Scavello learned a great deal about how hospice care helps patients and their families, whether in a facility or a private home. Mrs. Smith’s daughters emphasized how supported they felt by their hospice team and were thrilled at the care and attention provided to their mother.

NJ Assemblyman Jim Benson visited client, Jim D., where a small group of ambassadors discussed the extensive needs of our clients and showed, firsthand, many of the behind-the-scenes activities that go into providing care for a client. It’s not just about scheduling a nurse or an aide. This is an important message, as we advocate for increased PDN coverage.

And client William B. in Florida hosted US Senator Vern Buchanon on a home visit to demonstrate to the federal legislator the value of home care and the need for our federal Medicaid and Medicare programs to cover home care as a cost-effective option to facility based care. Mr. B. receives physical therapy and occupational therapy to help him regain his strength and promote independence in home. He enjoyed the Congressman’s visit and his PT, John Lumpkin, was able to talk about the care he provides and demonstrate some of the exercises performed. Overall, the visit was great and informative for the Congressman, who plays a very important role in current legislation that is to help eliminate PDGM.

Hearts for Home Care continues to look for clients to host legislative home visits throughout the remainder of the summer and into the fall session. If you’d like to be considered for participation in one of these opportunities, please speak with your Clinical Manager or Client Services Manager today or reach out to us at advocacy@bayada.com.

Ambassador Spotlight: GA Ambassador of the Year Doug McNew (NAP)

“Be creative, flexible, and determined—get the job done for our clients.” – The BAYADA Way 

GA Ambassador of the Year Doug McNew hosted Rep. Terry England on a home visit with client Laney and her mom Erin. Here Laney is pictured with her nurse, Katie.

At BAYADA, one of the most impactful way we can educate legislators on the importance of home care is through home visits. A home visit occurs when an office employee brings a legislature into a client’s home to show them first-hand the level of care that goes into keeping a vulnerable individual safe and healthy at home. In the past quarter, North Atlantic Pediatrics (NAP) director and 2018 Georgia Ambassador of the Year Doug McNew hosted two impactful home visits—one that even led to increased hours to pediatric client Laney!

In May, Doug, nurse Katie, and Laney’s family hosted Appropriations Committee Chairman representative Terry England (R – District 116) in Laney’s home. This home visit was an incredible opportunity to show Chariman England how much care goes into keeping Laney home. After a recent hospitalization, Laney’s mom reached out to GAO Director Melissa Allman to ask for Chairman England’s support to help during this time. Without hesitation, Chairman England reached out to his contacts at the Department of Community Health to voice his support for increased hours for Laney. And it worked: the Department approved the request! Kudos to Doug and the entire NAP team for going above and beyond to support Laney during this time! 

Doug recently hosted his second home visit with Speaker Pro Temp Jan Jones (R – District 47) and Representative Chuck Martin (R – District 49) with NAP client Matthew and his father, Rick, to discuss their current challenges with the current GAPP program and resources available for Matthew.  During the home visit, both Rep. Jones and Rep. Martin showed great interest, asked questions, and requested to continue our brainstorming efforts to ensure our families are receiving the care they need in their homes. 

In addition to home visits, Doug continues to move forward with meetings and recommendations to the Department of Community Health. In May, Doug and GAO met with the director of DCH and submitted recommendations to the current pediatric personal care programs.  The director was very open, and willing to discuss the changes with her medical directors.  Establishing these changes will allow the office to provide additional care to their pediatric nursing clients. This would reduce the two supervisory monthly visits per employee down to one monthly visit, and be a cost savings to the office. 

Thank you, Doug, for your continued commitment to advocacy on behalf of our clients through home visits! GAO needs your help showing how home care impacts so many individuals across Georgia and beyond. If you have a similar story, or family who would be willing to host a home visit, please contact Melissa Allman, and she will assist you in coordinating. These are great opportunities to not only to educate our lawmakers on how important home care is to Laney and others like her, but to also support our clients and families during a time in need.    

A Win for South Carolina’s Older Pediatric Population – TRAC Program Approved!

GAO Director Melissa Allman, Senior Transitional Care Manager Tonya Watts, and WOW Regional Director Ali Genthner recently met with DHHS and Medicaid and received approval for BAYADA’s TRAC program!

At the end of June, GAO Director Melissa Allman, Regional Director Ali Genthner, and Senior Transition Care Manager, Tonya Watts met with South Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services Pediatric Program Coordinator and Medical Directors to discuss BAYADA’s Transition Readiness Assessment and Collaboration (TRAC) Program. BAYADA’s TRAC program was approved! This will allow our Skilled Nursing offices to be staff and recruit more adult nurses without the required one year of hands-on clinical pediatric experience. The offices will also be able to fill more open hours and care for more adolescent age clients utilizing the TRAC program. 

Tonya Watts, Senior Transitional Manager shared, “Due to the ability to use the TRAC program, the Rock Hill, SC Skilled Nursing Office (ROC) will be transitioning their first client home at the end of this month utilizing the TRAC program.”

Ali Genthner, Willow (WOW) Regional Director shared, “We were very excited about the opportunity to meet with the DHHS and their medical directors, and grateful GAO was able to arrange the meeting.  We had a big win with removing a nursing requirement which will assist us with recruiting more nurses and helping more clients.”

Please stay tuned as we continue to continue meeting with DHHS leadership, and working to modernizing South Carolina’s current Medicaid waiver programs and increasing the reimbursement rates for private duty nursing.