Submitted by Dave Totaro, Chief Government Affairs Officer (GAO)
Over the past few weeks, BAYADA’s Government Affairs Office (GAO) has announced the Hearts for Home Care Ambassador of the Year finalists for each state. It is with great pleasure that we now congratulate the Hearts for Home Care State Ambassador of the Year winners:
Delaware and Maryland: Ali Knott, director, Delaware Pediatric North (DPN) office
New Jersey: Ida Rodriguez, client services manager, Hudson County (HUD) assistive care state programs office
North Carolina: Melissa Zuzolo, director, Conover (CON) assistive care state programs office
Pennsylvania: Mike Sokoloski, community liaison, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (WBS) assistive care state programs office
We also congratulate our national Rookie Ambassador of the Year Trisha Lasher, a nurse in the Berks County Visits (BRK) office.
Each of these individuals has shown an outstanding commitment to advocacy on behalf of our clients and fellow employees, which directly benefits the entire company. For example, in 3Q’16, 24% of all of the growth in the company’s revenue came from reimbursement rate increases generated by GAO over the previous year. Without the support of these Ambassadors, it would be very difficult to attain the achievements that generated such remarkable growth throughout our company and we are proud to honor these valued advocates as our 2016 Hearts for Home Care State Ambassadors of the Year.
On March 15, these awardees and their guests will spend time with GAO leadership in Washington DC, enjoying a dinner in their honor and discussing their advocacy efforts. At that dinner, they will officially receive their respective Ambassador of the Year Awards, and one of the four state Ambassadors will receive the prestigious Hearts for Home Care National Ambassador of the Year recognition. The trip also includes an overnight stay at the Marriott Marquis and the opportunity to take in the sights of Washington on a private guided tour.
The Hearts for Home Care Ambassador Program
Since 2011, the Ambassador program has promoted advocacy by calling on staff to take leadership roles within their offices as Ambassadors. The Ambassador’s role is to act as a liaison for GAO in communicating the importance of our advocacy initiatives to their colleagues and spearheading visits with legislators at clients’ homes, in legislators’ district offices, and with staff at our support and service offices.
Our Hearts for Home Care Ambassadors of the Year have gone well above and beyond the ambassador call of duty.
In Delaware, Ali and her son, Christopher, attended a meet-and-greet with Senator (now Lt. Governor) Bethany Hall-Long and Senator Nicole Poore where they made a strong impression on the legislators as Ali shared the challenges of the disability community.
In New Jersey, Ida developed and strengthened a relationship with Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez, which included a home visit with a HUD client. As a result, Assemblywoman Jimenez signed on as a co-sponsor to a vital piece of legislation that BAYADA supports – A320.
In North Carolina, in addition to coordinating a home visit, Melissa served on the board of the BAYADA NC political action committee and represented BAYADA on the Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee.
In Pennsylvania, in addition to serving as a board member of the BAYADA PA political action committee, Mike organized four legislative round tables in 2016 and was appointed by then-Governor Tom Wolf as the sole home care representative to the Governor’s Long-Term Care Council.
Also in Pennsylvania, our Rookie Trisha has the distinction of being our first field employee to serve as an Ambassador. She built a relationship with Representative Jim Cox that was instrumental in helping a client who had been hitting roadblocks for five years to finally get a chair glide installed in her home.
We appreciate all 192 Hearts for Home Care Ambassadors who advocate for our clients and colleagues while still performing their full-time job responsibilities. We also thank the division directors and directors who either serve as Ambassadors or support the Ambassadors in their areas. Everyone’s volunteer advocacy efforts truly embody living The BAYADA Way.
Stay tuned for the announcement of our BAYADA Hearts for Home Care Ambassador of the Year!