Often, when employees and clients think about how BAYADA’s Government Affairs Office (GAO) operates, direct lobbying and our extensive Federal PAC efforts come to mind first. But we cannot bring effective awareness and change to DC without our valued partners: Our grassroots advocates (you!), our partnerships with BAYADA’s various practices, and our national industry partners. When we act as one unified voice for the industry, we are better able to educate legislators and build support around the issues that mean the most to us and our clients. Below, please read about some of the additional “tools” we employ in order to effectively advocate at the federal level.
Engaging our Advocates through Action Alerts
Our Grassroots Advocacy team has been working diligently to engage our employees, clients, their families, and the home care community at-large under our Hearts for Home Care umbrella. Someone who is a Heart for Home Care is someone who cares enough about home care to advocate for it! Our grassroots program includes a myriad of events, campaigns, digital and print communications, and other such efforts that serve to keep the home care community engaged in advocacy. One of the most important tools in our grassroots toolbox is our Action Alert system.
As you know, Medicare and Medicaid are under constant threat of decreased funding, which can majorly affect how we function as home care staff and, most importantly, how our clients are cared for. When a threat comes about, the most important thing is that we mobilize quickly and act fast. Our action alert system allows us to do just that: When GAO sends out an action alert email to staff and clients, we simply ask that you click the link in the email to automatically send a pre-written message to the appropriate legislator or legislators. Because it is so easy and instant, this tool allows us to send hundreds to thousands of messages to key legislators to let them know how a bill would affect home care.
On October 3, we sent an action alert to all office employees to urge their legislators to support the EMPOWER Care Act, which would have extended the Money Follows the Person program. This program helps individuals with chronic conditions and disabilities transition back from institutions into their local communities. From that action alert, we were able to have 378 office employees deliver a total of 1120 messages to 126 key legislators. When you see an action alert email, be sure to take two minutes to voice your thoughts on behalf of our industry, and encourage your colleagues to act too!
Federal Home Visits
We have seen the impact that home visits have on our state efforts. Recently, a home visit hosted by SEL Associate Christine Detweiler led to legislation inspired by the client’s family. Because employees have been so engaged with state-level home visits, and because GAO and BAYADA recognize the impact that they have on educating state legislators on home care, our goal is to work with our employees and clients to host home visits with key federal legislators by the end of 2019!
These listed federal lawmakers serve on key committees and in prime positions. A home visit would serve to raise awareness to our services, the importance of in-home care in keeping families together, and would highlight the challenges and struggles that the home care community faces every day. If you are interested in hosting a home visit, please contact Lindsey Wright.
Working with BAYADA Practices to Craft Comments to CMS
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) allows for the public to submit comments on their proposed changes, which often affect home care. Once comments have been submitted, CMS will take into consideration the medical and scientific evidence given to determine their final rule. Because so many health care policies are presented through this route rather than through legislation, it is important for GAO to work with our internal practices to submit comments on these proposals and act as a voice for our staff and clients.
These comments are generally drafted in tandem with our industry partners, and in close coordination with affected practice leaders and teams. This year, BAYADA submitted comments on two major proposals: The Home Health Review Choice Demonstration and the Patient Driven Groupings Model. Thank you to our internal and external partners for always being valuable partners to us as we work together to ensure that any new proposal takes our view into account.
BAYADA has been working with other associations and our partnerships to ensure that the Home Health industry’s feedback is heard through submitting comments. Below are two comments sent this year.
One Industry, One Voice: Key National Partnerships
As a leader in the home health care industry, it is important that BAYADA participates as members and in key roles in national home care organizations. These organizations often have a powerful lobbying arm in DC, and they serve to unify home care providers’ voices to leverage our message to federal legislators. Our efforts would not be as impactful by themselves as they are with the help of the national associations we belong to, and without our federal lobbyists.