Call for Ambassadors! Upcoming 2019 Ambassador Symposiums – Get Involved!

Pictured: 2018 NJ Ambassador training. New and veteran Hearts for Home Care Ambassadors engage with state legislators, lobbyists, clients, and GAO staff to learn about the tools and resources they need to advocate on behalf of their staff and clients. After this, Assemblywoman Carol Murphy (pictured below, center) introduced a bill to give home care workers access to parking placards to better serve their clients.

Previously known as annual statewide “Ambassador Training,” this past year the Government Affairs Office’s (GAO) Grassroots Advocacy Team has worked hard to revamp the yearly program to make it more interactive and more engaging for both new and seasoned Ambassadors. Whether or not you’ve attended in the past, be sure to check out what being an Ambassador is all about during our upcoming symposiums!

Throughout the year we will be offering symposiums in Pennsauken, New Jersey; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New York, Georgia, South Carolina, and Rhode Island through the first half of the year. Contact me for more information and see below for dates. During these symposiums, new Ambassadors will learn about advocacy and what sharing their voice means, while the whole group will be trained on more concrete utilization tools to take their advocacy interactions to the next level! This year’s components and activities have been designed with your feedback in mind, and we are excited to show you what we have planned to allow you to be more confident and effective in your advocacy efforts.

Our Ambassador program serves as our “grasstops” program: Ambassadors commit to serving as their office’s liaison to government affairs activities and to educating their local elected officials and advocating for better policies on behalf of their office’s staff and clients. For example, check out what PA Ambassador and SEL Associate Christine Detweiler recently accomplished through her Ambassadorship. We have previously requested that each service office commit to having one Ambassador on staff, so if you’re office doesn’t have one (or even if it does!) please sign up to get more engaged with BAYADA, our clients, and your local electeds.

In addition to revamping the annual symposium, the grassroots team has been working on making sure ambassadors stay engaged and understand their importance in being a voice for home care throughout the year. Over the past 12 months, the Grassroots team has provided veteran ambassadors with monthly continuing education opportunities via 30-minute Zoom trainings to keep them abreast of new and existing advocacy tools and “tricks of the trade.” Because of the added engagement and positive feedback we’ve received, the GAO team is committed to keeping this practice ongoing throughout 2019.

For more information about the Ambassador programs, the annual symposiums, or home care advocacy in general, contact me today!

2019 Ambassador Symposium Schedule

SC – 2/20 at the state capitol in Columbia

GA – 2/21 at the state capitol in Atlanta

PA – 2/28  site TBD in Harrisburg

NJ – 3/13 at the New Jersey Learning Center in Pennsauken

NC – 3/28 at the North Carolina Learning Center in Charlotte

Advocate Spotlight: Christine Detweiler is a Voice for Her Pediatric Client Gideon

From home visit to house bill: Christine’s advocacy efforts lead to a bill introduction!

Pictured: Christine Detweiler (left) poses with fellow home care advocates and state Representative Craig Staats during The Pennsylvania Home Care Association’s Advocacy Day
Pictured: Christine Detweiler (left) poses with fellow home care advocates and state Representative Craig Staats during The Pennsylvania Home Care Association’s Advocacy Day

Pennsylvania Hearts for Home Care Ambassador Christine Detweiler has always been a diligent advocate, but recently, her efforts have proven that home care employees can truly go beyond the call of duty for clients and staff by serving as their voices in our state capitals.

“Home care is important to so many Pennsylvanians, and many aren’t as readily able to meet with legislators to share their stories,” said Christine. “I see advocacy as an extension of why I do what I do as a home care employee: We need to make sure we get out there to be a voice for those who don’t have one!”

Christine has been progressively adding more interactions to her advocacy portfolio—Over the past year-and-a-half she focused on meeting legislators in their district offices, and in the past few months she has hosted multiple home visits. Home visits are the most impactful way to demonstrate the importance of home care to legislators because it gives them a chance to see firsthand how clients receive services. To say Christine’s home visit resonated with Pennsylvania state Representative Marguerite Quinn is an understatement.

A few months ago, Christine led the representative on a home visit with five-year old client Gideon M. who suffers from Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). His mother shared their heartwarming story and opened up about their family’s challenges and Gideon’s ever-growing needs. Her story impacted the representative so deeply that shortly after the visit, Rep. Quinn emailed Christine to further assess the family’s needs and determine how she could help them obtain a transportation cart that would make Gideon’s care easier. The outreach didn’t stop there.

Rep. Quinn recently reported to Christine that she has arranged for a builder to come into the family’s home to build custom doors to create a private area for Gideon downstairs. She also reported that she contacted a rotary to find out if the family can be provided with a generator so that they do not need to constantly worry about their home’s power going out. It is truly remarkable how Christine’s efforts have impacted her client and his care.

In addition to her efforts for Gideon’s family, Rep. Quinn recently introduced a bill that would add SMA screening to the newborn screening list to help diagnose this disease before a child is even born. As of today, the Spinal Muscular Atrophy Bill (HB 2484) has been introduced and placed in the Health Committee for consideration. Representative Quinn reached out to her House colleagues and asked for co-sponsors for the important resolution and to bring awareness to this condition and to assist families across Pennsylvania with early intervention. We are looking forward to this bill passing through committee once legislators are back in Harrisburg.

The Hearts for Home Care Team can’t be prouder of the impact that Christine has made! Her passion and tenacity has reached the hearts of many legislators, and she is truly making a name for herself in Harrisburg as a tireless advocate!

To learn more about how your office can host a home visit, or ways you can get involved with advocacy on behalf of all home care staff and clients, email advocacy@bayada.com today.

Rep. Marguerite Quinn’s home visit with a five-year old client with SMA led her to introduce a bill about newborn screening for the disease!
Rep. Marguerite Quinn’s home visit with a five-year old client with SMA led her to introduce a bill about newborn screening for the disease!

Ambassador Spotlight: Christine Detweiler

Christine Detweiler (left) poses with fellow home care advocates and state representative Craig Staats during Advocacy Day

A little over a year ago, SEL Associate Christine Detweilerwas featured in this newsletter for her advocacy outreach and engagement with legislators through district office visits.  Christine is a constant advocate for her field staff and clients because she wants to ensure that they have a voice in Harrisburg.

“Home care is important to so many Pennsylvanians, and many aren’t as readily able to meet with legislators to share their stories,” she said. “I see advocacy as an extension of why I do what I do at BAYADA: We need to make sure we get out there to be a voice for those who don’t have one!”

Christine has been progressively adding more interactions to her advocacy portfolio—in the past few months she has hosted multiple home visits. Home visits are the most impactful way to demonstrate the importance of home care to legislators because it gives them a chance to see firsthand how clients receive services. To say Christine’s most recent Home Visit resonated with state Representative Marguerite Quinn is an understatement.

Representative Quinn joined Christine on a Home Visit with a five-year old client who suffers from Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). His mother shared their heartwarming story and their family challenges and the time it took to diagnose him.  Shortly after this home visit, Rep. Quinn emailed Christine to follow up with the client’s mom to assess the family needs and how she could help them obtain a transportation cart that would make the client’s care easier. The outreach didn’t stop here.

A few days later, Christine received an email from Rep. Quinn’s secretary asking her to review a proposed bill that Rep. Quinn created to add SMA screening to the newborn screening list to help diagnose this disease before a child is even born. As of today, the Spinal Muscular Atrophy Bill (HB 2484) has been introduced and placed in the Health Committee for consideration. Representative Quinn reached out to her House colleagues and asked for co-sponsors for the important resolution and to bring awareness to this condition.

Our GAO Hearts for Home Care Team can’t be prouder of the impact that Christine has made so far! Her passion and tenacity has reached the hearts of many legislators, and she is truly making a name for herself in Harrisburg as a tireless advocate!

Rep. Marguerite Quinn’s visit with a five-year old client with SMA led her to introduce a bill about newborn screening for the disease!

Ambassador Spotlight – KSP recruiting manager has the “Wright” stuff when it comes to Advocacy!

Submitted by Mike Sokoloski, Manager, Grassroots Advocacy

Lindsey Wright is the Ambassador that is always looking to help, like the first time I met her. -GAO Director Laura Ness and I were on our way to the PA Art Museum, next to the PA State Capitol. As we approached, there was Lindsey.  She was waiting on the sidewalk and on the phone talking and guiding a colleague to the building for our PA Legislative Day.

At the 2017 PA Legislative Day, Lindsey was able to spend 45 minutes with Senator Daylin Leach.  -It was a very candid conversation addressing all of our concerns, but specifically presumptive eligibility and an increase in the PAS rate for home care employees who work so hard for our clients.  Lindsey fostered this relationship with the senator.  She kept in touch with the district office director for Senator Leach, Judy Trombetta.  Lindsey worked diligently with two BAYADA Pediatric offices (PAO and WGP) to provide sponsorship for Senator Leach’s Kids Fair in Philadelphia, and Lindsey volunteered at the event!

In July, GAO coordinated a Client and Family Day at Temple University Kiva Auditorium.  GAO staff, CRO Division office and field employees, clients, and families had interactions with Philadelphia area elected state government legislators and discussed the pressing needs of our field staff, clients, and families.  The first person at the auditorium that day to assist with anything we needed: Lindsey Wright.

 

Advocacy Opportunities for our Field Staff

Submitted by Mike Sokoloski, Manager, Grassroots Advocacy (GAO)

Over the past two months, the Government Affairs Office (GAO) and a few award winning Hearts for Home Care ambassadors have met twice to enhance our advocacy opportunities for your colleagues in the field.  We are excited about the future of our Hearts for Home Care program, and I ask you to reach out to me if you know of any field staff that would like to be part of our advocacy efforts.  We are looking to: build Awareness, Inspire engagement, and Motive advocates!  For the links and more ways for field staff to be involved, visit our website: heartsforhomecare.com or email me at: msokoloski@bayada.com.

Photo GAO (left to right): Mike Sokoloski, Melissa Zuzolo, Alisa Borovik, Lee Dobson, Louise Lindenmeier, and Shannon Gahs

 

Become a “Social” Hearts for Home Care Advocate!

Submitted by Mike Sokoloski, Manager, Grassroots Advocacy (GAO)

The mission of the Government Affairs Office (GAO) is to act as a voice for our clients, their families, and our employees through education, advocacy, service and research on a full time basis.  At BAYADA, we also have a thriving ambassador program to develop and foster relationships with local legislators through district and home visits, and by keeping office staff informed of key legislative issues.  

However, anyone at BAYADA can actively participate through our social avenues on Facebook and Twitter by sharing our messages of advocacy with friends and family.

For the links and more ways to be involved, visit our website: heartsforhomecare.com or email me at msokoloski@bayada.com.

 

BAYADA to US Senate: No hearing. No vote.

Submitted by Dave Totaro, Chief Government Affairs Officer (GAO)

This is the most important “Call to Action” in BAYADA’s history. The US Senate in Washington is pushing through a bill that would drastically cut services and access to care by trying to vote on a bill without any hearings or any debate.

As Hearts for Home Care, you will undoubtedly be a driving force to preventing this potentially damaging action. In fact, more than 2,400 of our champions have already sent more than 120,000 letters to senators and our #NoHearingNoVote hashtag has been posted more than 700 times with a reach of 2 MILLION users on Twitter! Continue to have conversations with your colleagues and encourage advocacy. We have complete and total confidence that your efforts will be paramount to our success!

Take action three different ways!

  1. Email US Senators: If you haven’t already, please visit www.bayada.com/actnow to take action now. Note: You will be asked to enter your work e-mail and home zip code to take action.After you take action, forward the link to three friends and share it on your social media pages!
  2. Facebook profile frame: Use these instructions to add a #NoHearingNoVote frame to your profile picture.
  3. #NoHearingNoVote social media post: Post a photo of yourself, your fellow Hearts for Home Care, or your loved ones holding up a sign showing that we’re standing up for our clients and caregivers. When you share, be sure to include the hashtag #nohearingnovote in the caption.

Where are we now?

On Thursday, June 22, the Senate released the Better Care Reconciliation Act, a “discussion draft” of its version of the American Health Care Act. Four Republican senators have stated publicly they do not support the bill in its current form, meaning it cannot pass the Senate without changes being made to it. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is not expected to release a cost estimate of the legislation until early next week. A vote in the Senate could occur prior to the July 4 recess.

This version of the legislation would make broad changes to federal spending in these five areas:

  1. Medicaid: Reduces federal matching rate for adults covered by the Medicaid expansion; caps the growth in per-enrollee payments for most Medicaid beneficiaries
  2. Tax credits and related coverage provisions: Eliminates subsidies to purchase plans from the individual market in 2020; revises ACA tax credits
  3.  Patient and state stability fund grants: Provides $112 billion to states and insurers to reduce premiums for insurance purchased in the individual market
  4.  Penalty payments: Eliminates the employer mandate and individual mandate penalties
  5.  Noncoverage provisions: Repeals multiple taxes not relating to coverage, including the tax on high-income people and the medical device tax

Successful Storytelling at the North Carolina Legislative Day

Submitted by Mike Sokoloski, Grassroots Advocacy Manager, GAO

​On Wednesday, May 17, more than 60 BAYADA employees and one client arrived in their red attire to advocate to the North Carolina legislature, effectively communicating the importance of home care through storytelling to more than 110 legislators! We gathered on the red carpeted steps of the General Assembly to honor our Legislator of the Year, Senator Tommy Tucker. He has been a steadfast supporter of home care. Last year, he inserted language to increase the nursing rate by 10% for medically fragile children.

Click here to access our Hearts for Home Care Advocacy photo album on Facebook. >>
“While the medical condition of your clients puts them at high risk for hospitalization and placement in nursing homes, they deserve to stay at home, and they can with support of home nursing,” said Sen. Tucker. “The work that you do helps North Carolinians have a better quality of life, and saves the state tremendous amounts of money. We absolutely need to invest in these services.”

Speaking to the vital importance of advocacy, Chief Government Affairs Officer Dave Totaro said, “We must continue to recruit new voices to create the movement necessary to protect and retain benefits critical to the care of our clients. BAYADA has always led the way and we will continue to do so.”

I had the privilege of being joined by a new BAYADA employee, Gastonia, NC Pediatrics (GP) Client Services Manager Foster Krebs. He made an immediate connection with Sen. John Alexander with a story about a client family’s struggle, noting that we cannot retain field staff on one of his pediatric cases.

 

“After the first visit with Representative Hurley,” said Foster, “I was less anxious and felt more comfortable. In fact, once I realized my story resonated with lawmakers, I was able to enjoy myself.”

Keeping this engagement with legislators throughout the year is vital as well. Legislative Day is just a start to the numerous district visits, town halls, and home visits to come in 2017.

“I’m so proud of our staff,” said Area Director of Government Affairs Lee Dobson. “It was clear they had powerful stories to tell and were telling them. Their enthusiasm was contagious and in true BAYADA fashion, our smiles were seen and felt.”

We were there to seek an increase to the Medicaid aide rate from $13.88 to $17.00, over two years, and to communicate how one-on-one in-home aide services can help reduce health care expenditures by minimizing costs associated with falls, ER visits, and re-hospitalizations, and prevent or delay institutionalization while preserving quality of life. Home care also creates jobs in the community and allows families to continue to work, while being a cost-savings to the state.

This was understood by Senator Andrew Brock, who said, “I understand why you are asking for the increase. You won’t find the people to do the work at what you’re able to pay. This is a worthwhile allocation.”

A special thanks to Raleigh, NC Adult Nursing (RAN) Transitional Care Manager Paulette Troy for being the Legislative Nurse of the Day. For her volunteerism, she was recognized in both the House and Senate chambers, who said, “It was a privilege to represent BAYADA.”

Advocacy is an important role in the political process. We appreciate our advocates for making the time to be the voice for our staff and clients by sharing our stories. The General Assembly was a sea of BAYADA red. Thank you!

NJ GAO Advocacy Week Ambassador Experience

Submitted by Allison Nulton, Associate (TRP)

​During BAYADA’s Government Affairs Office (GAO) NJ Advocacy Week, I was excited to embark on my first experience as a BAYADA Ambassador.

On Tuesday, May 2, GAO Community Liaison Tara Montague, Toms River, NJ (TR) assistive care state programs Client Services Manager Rebecca Capuano, and I met with Senator Connors and Assemblywoman Gove from District 9. We had the opportunity to advocate for the clients we serve and ask the legislators to support raising the rate floor for NJ’s personal care assistant program in Managed Medicaid to the state’s fee-for-service rate.

We also asked them to support a $10-an-hour fee-for-service increase in private duty nursing. Both Senator Connors and Assemblywoman Gove were very receptive to the stories we shared about our clients and the challenges they face daily, and were open to having a round-table discussion in the future.

I also met with Senator Thompson from District 12 on Friday, May 5 to discuss the issues we face in the home care setting.  Senator Thompson, GAO Director Louise Lindenmeier, and I discussed a variety of issues that impact home care. We invited Senator Thompson for a home visit in the near future. We hope to schedule one soon!

I am excited for future visits to advocate for our clients, families, and field staff and to raise awareness about the support that is needed to continue providing excellent home care The BAYADA Way.

Ambassador Spotlight: Proctor’s Immediate Passion for Advocacy is Palpable

 Submitted by Mike Sokoloski, Grassroots Manager (GAO)

Less than a week after the PA Ambassador Training, Mechanicsburg Pediatrics (MBP) Client Services Manager Candice Proctor made it clear that she was going to be at the forefront of our grassroots advocacy charge throughout the Commonwealth.  Candice reached out to State Representatives Rothman and Mehaffie and had her first legislative visit scheduled with State Rep. Mehaffie two weeks to the day following our training.

During the visit, Candice spoke to Pennsylvania’s pressing issues for BAYADA: an increase in the PAS rate and Equalized Access for constituents of the Representative looking for Home Care as an alternative to long-term institutionalized care.  As a follow-up, Candice invited him to attend a home visit in his district.

Rep. Rothman was a guest speaker at our PA Ambassador training. Candice took her advocacy efforts to the next level with this particular opportunity, having the Representative join her on a home visit! During the home visit Representative Rothman met Sophia, one the MBP office’s longtime clients. The visit was a success!. Not only does Representative Rothman now have a greater understand of the wide breadth of home care, but it has also affected him personally. Rep. Rothman said, “Sophia’s personality profoundly impacted me…It was an important visit.”

Recently, Candice was able to attend a House Democratic Caucus Meet & Greet in Harrisburg.  She was able to advocate and network with the Democratic leadership team and get an idea of how they work collaboratively with all interested parties, stakeholders, and constituents to help move Pennsylvania forward.  Candice hasn’t slowed down.  She is currently working with clients and families to participate in upcoming Advocacy Days in Harrisburg.

None of this would have been possible without the help and support of her office director Kim Auchey and the entire MBP team.  Advocacy is a group effort that is clearly alive and well in the MBP office!  Thank you for your support and commitment to advocacy at BAYADA.