BAYADA Staff at the Direct Care Worker of the Year Awards
Each year the PA Department of Aging and the Pennsylvania Homecare Association (PHA) request nominations for the Direct Care Worker (DCW) of the Year Awards. The DCW is an individual who goes above and beyond in their work and provides essential services to older Pennsylvanians and disabled adults.
This year there were over 195 nominations. BAYADA nominated 16 aides from our offices.
The award was given at PHA’s Direct Care Worker Forum in Harrisburg. Each aide that was nominated was invited to attend. The day consisted of professional development, a motivational speaker and a DCW survey on the challenges of the profession.
This year GAO also hosted a pre-event for our aides to educate them about BAYADA’s Hearts for Home Care program and to honor BAYADA’s Home Health Aide 2017 Hero and 2017 PA Department of Aging DCW of the Year Anne Pannone.
Although, one of our BAYADA aides did not win the award in 2018 each aide felt recognized, energized and supported. Thank you to all our office who submitted nominees.
Thank you to all of our home health aides for the important work that you do!
GAO recently worked with the Partnership for Medicaid Home-Based Care and internal stakeholders to submit comments to the Department of Human Services (DHS).
DHS released a Request for Information (RFI) to receive feedback on the technical specifications that should be considered when establishing an electronic visit verification (EVV) system. DHS reinforced the message we had heard before stating that the state is moving towards an open implementation system with a standard clearing house.
BAYADA’s comments reinforced our position that an open system is imperative to foster innovation and enhance client care. We look forward to continuing to work with the state to support the implementation of an open EVV system within the state.
If you have any questions about EVV or other mandates, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HealthChoices—Pennsylvania’s managed care program for physical health, which includes our pediatrics practice—announced its newly rebid contracts in early 2017. For the past several years, this rebid process has been fraught with issues due to Managed Care Organizations’ (MCOs) protests. The newly announced contracts proved to be no different, as United submitted a contract bid protest shortly after this announcement.
United submitted this protest due to their belief that the state made an improper contract decision. Recently, Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court took up this protest and ruled in favor of United. The Court found that DHS met with MCOs during the black out period, thus ruling in favor of United’s protest.
DHS has not yet announced its next steps, but it is possible that the department will have to rebid all of HealthChoices’s contracts again. Because HealthChoices represents over $12 billion in contracts for potential MCOs, this ruling has created unprecedented waves in the state’s healthcare community. GAO will continue to monitor the outcomes of this ruling and will update the pediatric practice as more information becomes available.
BAYADA will again be supporting the Pennsylvania Homecare Association’s (PHA) Lobby Day in Harrisburg on May 22nd!
BAYADA office staff, field employees and clients will be joining industry colleagues to show state legislators just how large and impactful the home care industry is and, as in years past, we are committed to maintaining BAYADA’s historically large “sea of red” presence throughout the day.
Whether or not you’ve participated in a lobby day before, this is your chance to share your voice about issues that affect home care and let legislators know what can be done to alleviate some of the pressures that industry staff, clients families face daily. If you have any questions about what the day entails or how you can play a role, email email@example.com.
Thank you to all PA staff, clients and families for your commitment to advocacy and for your participation in lobby days past and future.
Save the Date–May 22 is PHA Lobby Day in Harrisburg!
Each year the PA Department of Aging and the Pennsylvania Homecare Association select one home health aide to be named Pennsylvania’s Direct Care Worker of the Year.
Last year BAYADA nominated 14 Home Health Aides (HHAs) and one of our nominees, Anne Pannone, was selected at PA’s Direct Care Worker of the Year. Since her selection, Anne was awarded a cash prize of $1,000 and has been invited to several statewide events to discuss the meaning of being a HHA and the value it provides to the state.
To help ease our service offices’ workloads, GAO is working with EMP to submit this year’s HHA nominations using information provided through our Hero program. To date, over 15 home health aides have been nominated to be this year’s Direct Care Worker of the Year.
All nominees will be invited to the 2018 Direct Care Worker Forum, which includes a luncheon and half-day training program on March 28. A stipend will be given to all HHAs attending the Forum.
Shortly after the new year the PA Department of Human Services (DHS) announced that the state will be moving forward with electronic visit verification (EVV) compliance by means of anopen system with a clearinghouse. BAYADA advocated on behalf of adoption of an open system and we are extremely pleased with DHS’s announcement. The open system encompasses the best of both worlds for providers within the state: An open system will enable providers that currently have an EVV system to use their system to “talk” to DHS’s clearinghouse. At the same time, it will also enable providers who do not currently use an EVV system to use the clearinghouse system as their provider.
Next, BAYADA plans to participate in a survey DHS will be releasing for the Department to better understand how home and community based providers are currently using EVV systems. DHS is also in the process of developing a request for information (RFI) to understand the features, challenges, and remedies in implementing the EVV clearinghouse. If applicable, BAYADA plans to participate in the RFI as well.
2017 proved to be another eventful year for home care in Pennsylvania. Notably, MCO implementation of the increased pediatric rate went into effect on January 1, 2017. As a result, our pediatric offices have been able to implement various programs for our nurses including increased wages, benefits, and bonuses throughout the year.
Early in 2017 the PA Government Affairs Office (GAO) worked with NJ GAO Director Louise Lindenmeier to lobby against New Jersey Governor Christie’s intent to end the NJ/PA tax reciprocity agreement. We were successful in getting the over 40-year agreement reinstated, thus saving BAYADA employees over $6 million in taxes.
Throughout the year we were active participants in PA’s move towards full implementation of Community Health Choices (CHC). Our participation, as well as that of others in the industry, resulted in a temporaryrate floor for personal assistance services. The rate floor ensures that implementation of CHC will not result in rate cuts for services within the program.
In May we submitted comments in favor of an “open” electronic visit verification (EVV) system, which would be more beneficial to our employees and to BAYADA than a closed system. The administration heard our concerns and is now planning to implement an open system. See our next article to learn more about PA’s EVV system.
Finally, PA took unprecedented steps by introducing legislation which would allow deemed eligibility for home care. This legislation takes a big step toward equalizing access to home and community based services as it would allow those who appear to financially qualify for nursing home services to be deemed eligible for home care services as well. After the legislation was introduced it was voted unanimously out of the House Public Health and Appropriations Committees and was voted out of the full House unanimously. Next up in the long and winding legislative process: The bill will now be considered in the Senate.
Towards the end of 2017 the PA GAO conducted a needs assessment with our PA division directors. Upon completion of the needs assessment our PA GAO Advisory Council met and recommended the following priorities for 2018:
Increase the personal assistance service rate by an average of 10%, creating a statewide reimbursement rate of $20.58 by 6/30/18.
Pass deemed eligibility for home care through legislation by 4Q18 (continuation of 2017 goal).
Allow physician signatures to be obtained within 30 days instead of 7 days.
Include requisite reimbursement increases in any state minimum wage increase.
Pass drug disposal legislation for Hospice.
Support the passage of Pennsylvania Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) legislation.
Lay the foundation for rate floor legislation in Pennsylvania.
Our PA legislative priorities have been approved by BAYADA’s Chief Executive Officer. We are looking forward to an exciting and challenging year ahead! Thank you to all PA staff, clients and families for your support and commitment to advocacy. Your efforts are paramount to our efforts to ensure that all Pennsylvanians can live a safe home life with comfort, independence, and dignity.
Submitted by Laura Ness, Director, PA Government Affairs (GAO)
On November 21, the House Health Committee met and unanimously voted to approve HB 1829. HB 1829 allows individuals to be presumed eligible for home health care. This practice is currently allowed for nursing homes but is not extended to home care. Because of this, Pennsylvanians often go without the help they need or are unnecessarily placed in a nursing home. The legislation approved included two amendments, which changes the name “presumptive eligibility” to “deemed eligibility”. It also extends this process to allow adult day centers to do presumptive eligibility as well. We are very pleased with this outcome. Next the bill will go to the House Appropriations Committee. The Government Affairs Office (GAO) is working to set up meetings with Appropriations Committee members to ask them to support this legislation.
Submitted by Laura Ness, Director, PA Government Affairs (GAO)
Last week, the Long-Term Care Council met in Harrisburg along with the various sub-committees. The Workforce Committee continued the discussion regarding how we continue to care the aging Pennsylvanians. It was clear that direct care workers are the foundation of caring for older Pennsylvanians. There was also the recognition that more direct care workers will be needed and recruited for the role. The majority of our time was spent discussing the data needed to make the case for higher pay, better support, and professionalizing the profession. The Government Affairs Office (GAO) is looking forward to continuing our work with the group.
Submitted by Laura Ness, Director, Government Affairs (GAO)
It takes a special and highly trained individual to become a pediatric nurse. You need to have the heart, be able to work independently and respond to the needs of your clients at a moment’s notice. Because of the difficulty finding nurses to care for medically fragile children, families often have services from more than one agency, open shifts, or in some cases stay in the hospital longer than needed.
Recently, two regional news states featured two families whose children were not able to come home because of the lack of skilled nursing available.