DHS Secretary Testifies at Recent ACA Repeal Hearing

Submitted by Laura Ness, Director, Government Affairs (GAO)

Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Acting Secretary Teresa Miller was called to testify recently at the US Senate Committee on Finance during the Graham-Cassidy bill proposal.  This proposed legislation would have a traumatic impact to the home care industry.  Not only would it have limited health care coverage for millions of Americans it would have also block granted Medicaid which would limit Pennsylvanians access to home care services.

Because of our advocacy efforts and the advocacy efforts of others, the bill was removed from consideration.

There have been many action alerts this past quarter each one more important than the last. Thank you for taking the time to be a heart for home care and taking action!

Photo credit: PA Department of Human Services
DHS Acting Secretary Miller testifies in front of Senate Finance Committee Photo credit: PA Department of Human Services 

 

 

U.S. Senate Aging Committee Staff Spends Day with BAYADA

Submitted by Laura Ness, Director, Government Affairs (GAO)

Recently, Samantha Koehler, policy aide to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging for ranking member U.S. Senator Bob Casey, and Vicki Hoak, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Homecare Association, spent the day in Philadelphia with BAYADA Home Health Care.  During her time with us, Samantha spent time learning about the inner workings of our service office and went on two home visits, one to an assistive care state programs client and another to a hospice client.

During Samantha’s visit, we discussed the most recent issues to impact home care in Pennsylvania including the institutional bias that still exists, the challenges with the recent proposal to block grant or institute per-capita caps to Medicaid, and the harmful proposed home health groupings rule.

Samantha loved getting to spend some time with Ms. Lenora E. and her aide Kimyatta J. Ms. E has been a BAYADA client for over a year and gets nine hours of care a day.  She is served by the Philadelphia Corporation of Aging (PCA) office. She also met Florence G., a 101-year-old heart patient who can remain at home with her daughter because of the care we deliver. She loves her Clinical Manager Faith Brown almost as much as she loves her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren. Grace is served out of the Pennsylvania Media Hospice (PMH) office.

A big thank you to the PCA and PMH staff for hosting Samantha!

Executive Director of PHA Vicki Hoak, BAYADA Aide Kimyatta J., BAYADA Client Lenora E. and Policy Aide Samantha Koehler sit and discuss home care.

Presumptive Eligibility Legislation Introduced in the House and Senate

Submitted by Laura Ness, Director, Government Affairs (GAO)

The work of the Pennsylvania Homecare Association, Pennsylvania Health Law Project, and the Elder Law Attorneys has led to presumptive eligibility legislation being officially introduced in Pennsylvania’s General Assembly. The bill numbers are S.912 and H.1829.  The legislation will allow individuals to be presumed financially eligible for home care services. This will greatly expedite the process and allow individuals to access the care they want when they want it. Since being introduced GAO has been working to obtain additional co-sponsors for both pieces of legislation. So far, we have 24 House sponsors and 16 Senate sponsors.

More work is still needed.  Please take a moment to email your state legislators and ask them to support the legislation.

Click here to tell your legislators to support equalized access to home and community based services.

See the full list of sponsors here:

 

 

 

 

Lotus Ladies Connect with the Republican Women of the PA House of Representatives

Submitted by Laura Ness, Director, PA Government Affairs (GAO)

Government Affairs Office (GAO) Senior Associate Alisa Borovik, Senior Manager Emilie Bartolucci and I spent an evening at the Pennsylvania Homecare Association headquarters near Harrisburg with house republican Representatives.  During the event, we had the opportunity to thank our current sponsors of our presumptive eligibility legislation and discuss the need to increase the personal assistant services rate for our aides.  The event was well attended by over 10 republican legislators.

New Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services

Submitted by Laura Ness, Director, PA Government Affairs (GAO)

On August 17, Governor Tom Wolf announced that he asked the current Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller to take over as the Secretary of the Department of Human Services (DHS).  Miller accepted and took over as Acting Secretary on August 21, replacing Secretary Ted Dallas.

Secretary Dallas has been out on medical leave since mid-June.  It is expected that Dallas will join Wolf’s executive office staff when he returns.  Secretary Miller was already tapped by Governor Wolf to lead the proposed unified department of health and human services that has yet to be approved by the legislature.  In the coming weeks, the Government Affairs Office (GAO) plans to meet with Secretary Miller to introduce her to BAYADA.

PA Legislators: Co-sponsor Presumptive Eligibility

Submitted by Laura Ness, Director, PA Government Affairs (GAO)

Recently, Senator Michele Brooks and Representative Aaron Berstine have circulated co-sponsor memos for legislation they are introducing.  The legislation allows individuals to be presumed eligible for home health care; a practice commonly known as “presumptive eligibility”.  This bill will help to increase access to care for potential and current BAYADA clients who don’t want to wait for their full applications to be processed before receiving care at home.  Specifically, the bill allows home health care agencies to presume that a client will be eligible for Medicaid and to start providing services while the full application is pending.  These clients need care as soon as possible, and this legislation will help give them that care.  The more support we can garner for this important legislation, the easier it will be to get the legislation passed.  I urge you to email your state legislators and encourage them to become co-sponsors of the presumptive eligibility bill by clicking here.

 

Advocacy to Equalize Access Continues in Pennsylvania

Submitted by Laura Ness, Director, PA Government Affairs (GAO)

Last week, the Pennsylvania Homecare Association (PHA) and I met with House Public Health Chairman Matt Baker to discuss the best path forward regarding our legislation, which begins to equalize access to presumptive eligibility. During the discussion, we considered potential bill sponsors, a potential legislative hearing, and potential today blocks. The bill language will now go to the Legislative Reference Bureau for approval and formatting. This is the final step before a co-sponsor memo is released and we can activate our advocates and ask for legislative sponsors. More updates coming soon.

Government Affairs Office Continues Advocacy Efforts in Massachusetts

Submitted by Laura Ness, Director, Government Affairs (GAO)

This week, the Government Affairs Office (GAO) traveled to Massachusetts to advocate for amendment 513. The amendment requires the state to collect and make publicly available data on the hospitalization costs of the continuous skilled nursing population. This was accepted in the Senate budget and now needs to be approved by the conference committee. Our request is that the legislature approves the amendment but requires the data to be available by December 31.

PA House and Senate Pass Pension Reform

Submitted by Laura Ness, Director, PA Government Affairs (GAO)

After years of debates and proposals, the House and Senate have put a state employee pension reform package on the governor’s desk. The legislation will not alleviate the budget deficit this year, but it will help the state in future budgets. This legislation was described as relieving a pressure valve for legislators. With this monumental task behind them, legislators are looking forward to moving on to additional issues. This is good for home health care because legislators have more of an appetite to listen to requests for additional funding now that the looming pension crisis is behind them.

Government Affairs Office Completes Harrisburg, PA Office Blitz

Submitted by Laura Ness, Director, PA Government Affairs (GAO)

This week, Chief Government Affairs Officer Dave Totaro and I met with more than 15 different legislators and staff in Harrisburg. The intent was to follow up from our lobby day to answer any additional questions and concerns they may have regarding the personal assistant services (PAS) increase and the pending presumptive eligibility language. Although it is a tough budget year, legislators understood our need to increase the PAS rate and pass presumptive eligibility. In the coming weeks, the Government Affairs Office (GAO) plans to follow up with all legislators as they begin budget negotiations.