New Hearts for Home Care Member Showcases Advocacy at Home!

Left: Gaston Gazette reporter chats with Dimpal and her BAYADA nurse Amy.
Center: Dimpal’s long-time nurse Chastity helped Dimpal live on campus and graduate from UNC Charlotte!
Right: Dimpal’s nurse Toni has been by her side for nearly a decade.

Oftentimes, when we hear the word “advocacy” we think about attending a BAYADA-sponsored lobby day in a state capitol or visiting a legislator’s local office to ask him or her to support or oppose a piece of legislation. While both those options are in fact forms of advocacy, they’re not the only ones.

North Carolina client Dimpal Patel recently joined Hearts for Home Care, a program that BAYADA’s Government Affairs Office began to get clients, families, staff members, and the community at-large more engaged in legislative advocacy. She expressed that she wanted to get involved, but as an individual with a trach, vent, and wheelchair, she would need a lot of assistance traveling to advocate in person.

The Hearts for Home Care team immediately encouraged her to reach out to her local paper by submitting a short opinion piece about her thoughts on home care. She shared an insightful take on how her nurses enabled her to live on campus and graduate from UNC Charlotte, as well as how important Medicaid is for her and so many others that rely on home care.

The Gaston Gazette received her piece, but instead of publishing it, they sent a reporter to Dimpal’s home to get a better look at how home care impacts her life first-hand. The reporter spoke with Dimpal and her nurse, Amy, about the importance of legislators’ mindfulness of continued Medicaid funding—and her story made the paper’s front page!

“I’ve always wanted to get more involved in advocacy because I think it’s important that our state and federal decision makers hear our voice and understand how important home care is in our communities… but I was always worried because I can’t get to the state capitol or to legislative hearings as easily as others can. I’m grateful that Hearts for Home Care has given me the tools to help me begin my advocacy journey from home,” Dimpal told us recently.

Home care by its very nature often helps those with limited mobility to live a full life and remain at home. That’s why the Hearts for Home Care team developed a robust menu of advocacy activities—so that anyone who wants to get involved in advocacy can! Reaching out to legislators via traditional media or social media, calling into a town hall, sending a newspaper clipping or an email are just a few of the many ways individuals can advocate from their own home.

In today’s world elected officials and regular individuals alike are bombarded with messages, from advertisements on the bus to a long social media newsfeed, all the way to robotic phone calls and junk mail. It’s important that we take a step back to cut through the noise to deliver our advocacy message to state and federal decision makers: Home care is important to me, and it should be important to you too.

For more information on how you, your colleagues, or your clients can share your voice in advocacy, please email advocacy@bayada.com or sign up to join Hearts for Home Care today!

2019: The Year of the Ambassador!

GAO continues to grow and strengthen our Ambassador program. Symposiums and other engagement activities are currently underway–don’t miss your chance to get involved!

US Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) poses with Chief Government Affairs Officer Dave Totaro (center) and our Ambassadors of the Year at the 2018 Ambassador Awards trip in Washington, DC

When the Government Affairs Office (GAO) launched the Hearts for Home Care Ambassador program nearly ten years ago, we envisioned that each service office would have a designee who would essentially act as the GAO liaison for that office. How much we’ve grown! Today, our Ambassadors go above and beyond to be the voice for our staff and clients, and they truly exemplify the leadership and excellence qualities that have grown to be associated with the Ambassador program.

In 2018, GAO committed to a more robust and centralized grassroots program, including a stronger dedication to the Ambassador program. In 2019, under Grassroots Advocacy Manager Mike Sokoloski’s leadership, the program is set to have its strongest year yet. This year we will be sharing a new “Ambassador Dashboard” that will help our advocates stay engaged and track their progress, create more 30-minute advocacy Zoom trainings, and bring our top-performing advocates on an exclusive Ambassador Awards trip to Washington, DC in May!

Additionally, one of the most exciting changes we have underway is our newly-revamped state-by-state Ambassador Symposiums. Our Ambassador Symposiums are newly designed and structured to train rookie Ambassadors while simultaneously energizing more seasoned advocates. This year we are partnering with outside organizations and bringing in more legislative and client guest speakers to truly show attendees the impact that strong advocacy has in making meaningful changes for our staff and clients.

DE Senate Majority Leader Nicole Poore joined a recent Ambassador Symposium and shared her thoughts on the importance of advocacy with attendees

So far in 2019, we have held our first Ambassador Symposium in Newark, DE for both our Maryland and Delaware Ambassadors. Here, DE Senator and Majority Leader Nicole Poore came to share her passionate story about how she initially became involved in advocacy for her child, and how she now sees her role as being an advocate for all her constituents. Throughout the spring, we will continue to host Ambassador Symposiums in New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, New York and Rhode Island. 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!

As our Ambassador program continues to grow, we are seeking new Ambassadors from all service and support offices, and are seeking greater involvement from field staff, clients, and other organizations. It is vital that we join together as Hearts for Home Care to strengthen our collective voices in support of home care. Our Ambassadors serve as the forefront of our advocacy program, and truly make the difference in educating local legislators about home care and its impact on clients and communities.

For more information about the Ambassador program, upcoming 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

NY – TBD

RI – TBD

*Please note that the DE/MD Symposium has already occurred, but it’s not too late to become an Ambassador if you are interested! Contact Mike Sokoloski for information.

Reflecting on South Carolina’s and Georgia’s First Year with a Full-Time GAO Program

By: Melissa Allman, GAO Director for South Carolina and Georgia

Thank you to the many advocates that contributed to SC and GA’s successes in 2018!

What a difference a year makes. This time last year I was just transitioning out of my role as Division Director for the Palmetto Division and into my new role directing our advocacy activities in South Carolina and Georgia. I didn’t know I was in for so much! As I reflect back on 2018, my thoughts go immediately to two things: First, the successes that we were able to generate for our staff and clients and secondly, the many BAYADA leadership, staff, and clients that shared their voices and helped us win!

South Carolina

This year not only were we able to achieve an 8.2% rate increase for all personal care Medicaid waiver services in South Carolina, but we made so much headway engaging our office staff, field staff, and clients. As one person running around in the state house, I can only do so much. It is your stories and your voices that truly have made our first full-time year in South Carolina a remarkably successful year.

Aside from our rate increase, South Carolina advocates hosted five home visits with state lawmakers, hosted two legislative roundtables, and enabled Speaker Pro Tempore Tommy Pope attended a Hero Ceremony for his constituent—a home health aide from RHS. In addition, we attended several events to support our champions. Then-CLP Director, Haley Keisler was named South Carolina Home Care and Hospice Association’s (SCHCHA) 2018 Professional of the Year, and ROC client Mitchell H.’s mom and caregiver, Tammy Roberts, was recognized as the SCHCHA 2018 Caregiver of the Year. 

Left: SCHCHA Executive Director Tim Rogers (left) and I (right) pose with SCHCHA’s 2018 Caregiver of the Year Tammy Roberts (center) and her grandson.

Right: SCHCHA Executive Director Tim Rogers (left) and I (right) pose with SCHCHA’s 2018 Professional of the Year, former CLP director and current AVL director Haley Keisler and her family.

Additionally, we were able to engage a record 25 Hearts for Home Care ambassadors and advocates to Lobby Day, where we connected BAYADA staff to lawmakers to share why our families deserve to be able to stay together through home care.

A record breaking Lobby Day in Columbia

Georgia

As I reflect back on the past year, my heart is full of gratitude for all of Georgia’s leadership, Ambassadors, and advocates. Your support and advocacy made all the difference! Not only were we able to generate a rate increase for private duty nursing (PDN) services under the Georgia Pediatric Program (GAPP) waiver, but we’ve made our voices heard and our industry and company better known in the state capitol. We are truly set up for a stellar 2019!

So far in 2019 we have already began meeting with Georgia’s House and Senate leadership and the Georgia Department of Community Health (GCH). We are seeking to further increase the RN and LPN rates under the GAPP program and gain enhancements for PDN waivers for the adult population under the New Options Waiver (NOW), Comprehensive Supports Waiver (COMP) and Independent Care Waiver (ICWP) programs. We will be seeking even further involvement from our GA advocates, and I am excited to see what we can accomplish together!

Meetings are already underway for 2019: I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together for GA!

It was a true honor to work along side of you all, and I’m looking forward to working with you as we continue to raise awareness for our state’s most vulnerable children and adults. Thank you to the many advocates that made 2018 a success, and that will help pave the way for more successes in South Carolina in 2019 and beyond!

Government Affairs Office Attends Two Heartfelt Visits with New Jersey Clients

Last week, Chief Government Affairs Officer Dave Totaro, Client and Family Advocacy Manager Tara Montague, and Public Affairs Manager Alisa Borovik traveled to northern New Jersey to meet two BAYADA clients and their caregivers to learn more about how home care has impacted their lives. The Government Affairs Office (GAO) also brought along representatives from Regan Communications Group, a public affairs firm we’ve engaged to support the GAO initiative to increase public awareness of issues that our clients and staff regularly face, such as accessing home care and recruiting and retaining quality staff to meet the demand in our communities.

Meeting Addy and Gloria


Photo: DOV client Addy R. and her HHA Gloria have an unbreakable bond

First, the team stopped by the Dover, NJ (DOV) assistive care state programs office to meet with Client Services Manager Helena Anton, where we learned about the struggles the office regularly faces in recruiting and retaining home health aides. DOV client Addy R. and her CHHA Gloria came in to meet with GAO and Regan, who were nearly brought to tears by Addy’s story regarding the challenges she has been able to overcome with her “teammate,” which is what she calls Gloria.

“I was extremely touched by Addy’s and Gloria’s relationship. Not only is it clear how much Gloria has impacted Addy’s daily life and her sense of self-worth, but the way Gloria talks about Addy’s influence on her own life is incredible. You can tell that Gloria was truly put on this earth to be the nurturing, compassionate caregiver that she is,” said Tara Montague.

Recently, Addy and Gloria visited Senator Steve Oroho to share their story and to advocate for better state home care policies. “Helping people is important. And it’s important that those who help others get the help that they need too,” Addy told the group.

Photo: DOV client Addy R. and her HHA Gloria have an unbreakable bond

Lili and Emma Welcome Advocacy into Their Home

Lili and her nurse Barbara share a high five.

Next, GAO and Regan traveled to Morristown to visit Morris Plains, NJ Pediatrics (PED) client Liliana “Lili” K. and her mother Emma in their home. As a single mom, Emma relies on home nursing so that she can keep her full-time job and keep Lili at home. She told us that her PED team works hard to ensure every one of Lili’s shifts are covered and that her BAYADA nurses all deliver top-notch quality care to her daughter.

She also shared sentiments about times when coverage wasn’t so steady, “Our routine and our comfort level is only as good as today. When Lili’s main nurse, Liz, retired, we had a few months where we didn’t know what tomorrow would bring.”

Like Addy, Emma is committed to ongoing advocacy to ensure that nurses see home care as an attractive employment option, so that families like hers can also receive the home care they need.

BAYADA continues to fight for higher reimbursement rates under the state’s private duty nursing (PDN) program, one of our major goals in New Jersey in 2019.

“It’s our clients’ and families’ voices that make the biggest impact on our state and federal elected officials’ decisions about home care. Because of advocates like Addy and Emma, legislators better understand the impact home care has on their communities,” said Dave Totaro. “In 2019, we’re expanding our toolbox. We are growing BAYADA’s public affairs program so that our message is more global. Our staff and clients deserve better, and their voices will be heard!”

A special thanks to Gloriosa Division Director Fredy Villareal, PED Director Christine Rios, and the many employees that made these visits happen! Seeing our clients firsthand is always so impactful and inspiring—GAO is excited to move forward with our 2019 goals on behalf of all staff and clients. To learn about ways you can engage in advocacy, email advocacy@bayada.com today!

Tour of NC: Offices Celebrate Successes, Look to Future Goals

Every yearour Government Affairs Office (GAO) makes an in-person outreach to our service offices, traveling throughout the country to connect with staff about advocacy at BAYADA. This past month, GAO visited approximately 20 offices in North Carolina, from the mountains to the low country, to provide a legislative update, share advocacy information, and hear directly from staff on issues that matter most to them and our clients.

In conversations with staff, we had the opportunity to share our operating model, which utilizes a three-pronged approach in achieving our legislative goals: direct lobbying, supporting our champions, and grassroots advocacy. While GAO works to lobby our elected officials to educate them about issues impacting the home care industry, we rely on the efforts of our employee advocates to support our legislative champions through PAC contributions and to participate in grassroots efforts, such as hosting a home visit or responding to a legislative action alert.

As an Ambassador, I’m proud of the work that we do to be a voice for those who may not always have the chance to advocate for themselves. Advocacy has taught me that there are so many things we can do, big and small, to make an impact on the people we serve.

—Michele Hoke, Hearts for Home Care Ambassador and HHI Client Services Manager

These efforts truly add up, whether you attend a lobby day, host a home visit, respond to an action alert, or simply register as an advocate on the Hearts for Home Care website. With the help of our client and employee advocates in NC, together this past session we:

  • Secured a much-needed rate increase for aide services
  • Ensured an increase from Partners Behavioral Health
  • Protected certificate of need (CON) for our Medicare offices

The impactful grassroots efforts from our Ambassadors and advocates through home visits, legislative roundtables, and our annual Legislative Day make a difference!

Beyond sharing the power of advocacy, this trip gave GAO the opportunity to reconnect with staff and listen to learn more about the issues that matter most to clients and employees. As we traveled from office to office, we heard of all the wonderful things our offices are doing, the special relationships you have with each other and with our clients, and the persisting challenges our offices face in providing compassionate, excellent, and reliable care at the current reimbursement rates. We look forward to working together to ensure our legislators understand and address these challenges.

Collaborating like this to make sure we are being the best advocates we can be is so important to the work that we do. The more we work to get our clients and field staff engaged in advocacy, the more we can ensure their voices are being heard and represented.

Bryan Borchard, RAN Director

BAYADA Honors Mark Baiada, NJ Legislative Champions

On October 24, the Government Affairs Office (GAO), our advocates, and our legislative honorees reflected on a year of legislative victories while looking ahead to the challenges that still lie ahead. The night’s honorees included Assemblyman Anthony Bucco, Assemblyman Daniel Benson, and Assemblywoman Carol Murphy.  Each legislator, and all in attendance, were touched by the words of Christina Cerza, mother to a BAYADA client, and her story detailing how excellent, reliable, and compassionate home care has changed their lives. In turn, each legislator spoke of the importance of home care and of the vital role our advocacy efforts play in the legislative process.

Also honored was our very own Chairman, founder, and biggest advocate Mark Baiada. Chief Government Affairs Officer David Totaro spoke of Mark’s pioneering work to advance home care and to persistently advocate for disabled children and adults who need a voice.

Our speakers, honorees, and nearly 100 guests celebrated the successful increase of NJ’s fee-for-service rate for personal care assistants to $19 an hour, and an increase to $16 an hour for managed care companies. We also celebrated the successful passage of the groundbreaking Parking Accessibility Bill (sponsored by honoree Assemblywoman Carol Murphy), which ensures home care agencies can accept cases and care for residents without the burden of parking tickets and towing fees. In celebrating these two legislative victories, we acknowledged and honored the commitment to advocacy of our employees, clients, and families.

After a heartfelt evening that reminded everyone of our purpose and why we love what we do, we look forward to another year of action and advocacy at BAYADA. Being an advocate takes many forms. Whether you attend a district office meeting, become a Hearts for Home Care Ambassador, call your legislator, take action on a legislative alert, or join our Political Action Committee (PAC), you are making a meaningful difference in the lives of our clients and BAYADA caregivers.

If you would like to get more involved in New Jersey’s advocacy program, sign up to become a Heart for Home Care Advocate. If you would like to get more involved in New Jersey’s advocacy program and learn more about our PAC, reach out to us at advocacy@bayada.com.

State-by-State Elections Results

What impact did the election bring to your state? Below, see key election summaries in our major advocacy states: DE, GA, MD, NC, NJ, NY, PA, RI, and SC

DELAWARE
  • Federal
    • Senator Tom Carper, former Governor of Delaware and frequent visitor to BAYADA’s Dover office was re-elected with 60% of the votes. Representative Lisa Blunt-Rochester secured 64.5% of votes and was reelected to a second term with an overwhelming victory over Republican opponent Scott Walker.
  • State
    • Despite considerable turnover, Democrats retained control of the House and gained one seat to secure a 26-15 majority.
    • Key race: The area of Rockland and Hockessin flipped from Republican to Democratic control with political newcomer Laura Sturgeon besting Representative Greg Lavelle.
    • One half of the State senate was up for election. The Democrats gained a seat in this chamber as well, increasing the partisan split to 12-9.
    • Key race: Democrat Krista Griffith edged out Republican Deborah Hudson in the House District 12 race.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: Stronger majorities should mean that issues supported by the Democratic majority have a higher likelihood to pass both chambers. Delaware historically has remarkably low turnover rate, the reasoning as told by one legislator being, “If a person is doing a good job, it would be mean to run against them.” This year, however, about one quarter of the legislature will be new to the job following a slew of retirements and declinations to run for re-election. Education on Medicaid, home health care and other important issues relating to our work will be key to success in the coming session.
  • For information on your district’s winners and losers, check out this detailed New York Times article on the DE elections.
GEORGIA

 

  • Federal
    • Key race: The sixth district—once held by Newt Gingrich—was the only seat that flipped to blue in GA, where Democrat Lucy McBath narrowly defeated Republican incumbent Karen Handel with 50.5% of the vote.
    • Key race: In one of the tightest US House races in the country, incumbent Rob Woodall currently leads with 50.2% of the votes in Georgia’s seventh district, which includes portions of the northeast Atlanta metropolitan area. Representative Woodall, the incumbent, currently leads opponent Carolyn Bourdeaux by less than 1000 votes. Bourdeaux intends to request a recount if the final tally leaves her within one percent of the four-term incumbent.
  • Statewide
    • After a very tight gubernatorial race between two former lawmakers, Republican Brian Kemp has declared victory over Democrat Stacey Abrams with 50.3% of the votes. However, on Monday November 12, a federal judge ordered a delay in the certification of the results due to concerns with the state’s voter registration system and handling of provisional ballots. Despite this judicial intervention, Abrams conceded on Friday, November 16 and Kemp is officially considered Governor-elect.
  • State House & Senate
    • 32 of the states 56 senatorial seats went uncontested. Republicans retain a 105-71 majority. Similarly, 111 of the 180 state house races were uncontested, and Republicans retain a 105-71 majority.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: Voter access is still an issue in the US. Kemp served as Secretary of State—the position charged with overseeing elections—during this election, and the handling of provisional ballots has brought much scrutiny from voting rights groups. If neither candidate can win with 50 percent-plus-one-vote, the race will go into a runoff election on December 4. Additionally, though Republicans retain their majority across the board, the historical Republican stronghold appears to be loosening.
  • For information on your district’s winners and losers, check out this detailed New York Times article on the GA elections
MARYLAND
  • Federal
    • Key race: In the state’s most expensive race, Democrat David Trone won MD’s open US House seat with 58% of the vote.
    • Federally, there were no flips from red to blue or vice-versa. The US House remains 7-1 in favor of Democrats, and Democrat Ben Cardin kept his Senate seat in his race against Republican challenger Tony Campbell.
  • Statewide
    • After what was predicted to be a close race, Republican incumbent Governor Larry Hogan won his re-election campaign against Democratic challenger Ben Jealous with more than 56% of the vote in a majority blue state.
  • State House & Senate
    • Unsurprisingly, both the state House and Senate remained a Democratic majority with the help of re-election of House Speaker Michael Busch and Senate President Thomas V. Miller. With a solid lead in both the House and Senate, state Democrats can rely on their votes to override the Governor’s veto power in the MD legislature.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: While a “blue wave” hit the country, many were surprised that Republican Governor Hogan ended up with a solid 56% of the votes in an otherwise-Democratic state. This is only the second time in Maryland history that a Republican governor was reelected for a second term. Hogan has maintained one of the highest gubernatorial approval ratings in the country and his distanced himself from President Trump’s healthcare and immigration agenda, which may show that a satisfied constituent base can buck the national trend.
  • For information on your district’s winners and losers, check out this detailed New York Times article on the MD elections
NEW JERSEY
  • Federal
    • Key race: Incumbent Democrat US Senator Bob Menendez defeated Republican challenger Bob Hugin to continue on to a third term.
    • Key race: In one of the tightest races in the country, Democratic challenger Andy Kim has officially been called the winner in his race against Republican Tom MacArthur with a nail-biting late count of 49.9% to 48.4%. With three other wins, four US House seats were flipped to blue by NJ democrats.
  • State House & Senate: NJ Special Elections Results
    • New Jersey’s state legislative and gubernatorial elections are held in odd-numbered years. However, there were eight special elections held to address ten seat vacancies created when Governor Phil Murphy tapped a number of lawmakers to his cabinet. All ten of the successful candidates are of the same party affiliation as their predecessors. Accordingly, Democrats continue to control the Senate and Assembly in the state.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: The “Blue Wave” struck New Jersey. Four US House districts shifted from red to blue, contributing to Democrats’ successful seize of US House control. Predictably, there are no significant changes to the already solidly blue state Assembly and Senate.
  • For information on your district’s winners and losers, check out this detailed New York Times article on the NJ election.
NEW YORK
  • Federal
    • New York’s Congressional races were fought primarily in Republican-held districts in New York City’s suburbs. Of the five most-watched races, Dems have officially won out in two, and will likely win a third, pending official result certification. Republicans have secured one seat and are predicted to pick up one more as votes are counted and election results certified. Thus, the New York delegation will likely sit comfortably at 21-6 in favor of democrats. Popular Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was easily reelected with over 66% of the vote.
  • Statewide
    • Unsurprisingly, Democratic incumbent Andrew Cuomo won a third term as Governor with an overwhelming 59% of votes.
  • State House & Senate
    • Democrats picked up eight seats and will enjoy a 40-23 majority, though five of those races remain slightly too close to call. In the house, Democrats will retain a 107-43 majority.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: After a very strong showing from Democrats, they will now control all three branches of government. Andrew Cuomo was re-elected as Governor, and Democrats expanded their majorities in both the House and the Senate.
  • For information on your district’s winners and losers, check out this detailed New York Times article on the GA elections.
NORTH CAROLINA
  • Federal
    • Despite several highly competitive Congressional races, NC did not see a change in the state’s Congressional make-up. In the US House, the NC delegation remains 10-3 in favor of Republicans.
  • Statewide
    • There were no statewide elections in NC. Democrat Roy Cooper remains at the helm in the state’s governor’s mansion.
  • State House & Senate
    • While the NC Republicans retained control in both chambers, the Democrats broke the Republican’s veto-proof super-majority. In the Senate, Democrats gained six additional seats bringing their total to 21. Senate Republicans retained 29 seats. In the House of Representatives, Democrats picked up nine additional seat for a total of 54. House Republicans retained 66. There are a few seats within margin triggering a recount.
  • Key Race: In a tight race, Wake County Republican Representative Nelson Dollar, who was Senior House Appropriations Chair and a fixture in the legislature for 14 years, lost. Dollar was an expert on the budget and its process and was recognized by both parties as a skilled negotiator in conferencing with the Senate. The House and Senate alternate beginning the budget process by biennium, and this coming session (2019-2020) the House will present their budget first.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: Now that the legislature is balanced, legislators will be required to compromise and negotiate on important issues, which should result in less partisan and more thought-out public policies for our state. Of note, voter turnout was at an all-time high with 52% of registered voters casting a ballot—compared to 36% in 2016—making this election the highest turned-out midterm election since 1990.
  • For information on your district’s winners and losers, check out this detailed New York Times article on the NC elections.
PENNSYLVANIA
  • Federal
    • In the state’s US Senate race, Democratic incumbent Bob Casey scored a third term, blocking Lou Barletta’s attempt to unseat him.
    • All 18 US House seats were up for re-election. Dems managed to flip three seats, evening out the state’s party representation in the lower federal house to 9 Democrats and 9 Republicans.
  • Statewide
    • Tom Wolf was handily re-elected to serve a second term as Governor, defeating Republican challenger Scott Wagner 57.7% to 40.8%.
  • State House & Senate
    • Despite some close races and some significant gains for Democrats in the state house, Republicans narrowly maintain the lead in both the state House and Senate. Of important note, Dems broke the veto-proof majority in the Senate.
    • Key race: Doylestown-area home care champion and Rep. Marguerite Quinn lost her bid for PA State Senate to Representative Steve Santarsiero. She did not run for her PA state Representative seat, so she will be out of the state house as of January. We are so grateful for her support and will miss her in the PA General Assembly. Read more.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: Nationally, PA helped the democratic party by adding to the party’s overall US House gain. The state’s makeup stays about the same with a Republican-controlled legislature and a Democratic Governor. Rs and Ds will need to work together and compromise to achieve true changes.
  • For information on your district’s winners and losers, check out this detailed New York Times article on the PA election.
RHODE ISLAND
  • Federal
    • All three Democratic incumbents won in the US House and US Senate. Senator Whitehouse and Congressional members Cicilline and Langevin all enjoyed solid wins and will return to DC next term.
  • Statewide
    • Incumbent Governor and Democrat Gina Raimondo handily won against Republican challenger Allan Fung, capturing 57.1% of the votes.
    • Of note is the mayors’ races across the state. Please see the New York Times elections article for details on these races.
  • State House & Senate
    • As one of the bluest states in the nation, there is little to report. The Rhode Island House and Senate remain solidly democrat.
    • Key race: Representative Patricia Serpa, a home care champion who sponsored a private duty nursing (PDN) rate increase bill last year, was reelected. Home care supporters Speaker Mattiello and House Finance Committee chair Rep. Abney were also reelected.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: While plenty of states held their breath to see which direction voters would take, Rhode Islanders remained steadfast with their support of Democratic candidates. The two US House incumbents from RI will enjoy new Democratic colleagues from states outside of the blue New England area.
  • For information on your district’s winners and losers, check out this detailed New York Times article on the RI elections.
SOUTH CAROLINA
  • Federal
    • Key race: Democrat Joe Cunningham narrowly defeated Republican Katie Arrington in South Carolina’s most watched race for the 1st Congressional District to replace Mark Stanford. Despite this Democratic victory, Republicans still hold five of the seven South Carolina congressional seats.
  • Statewide
    • Republican Governor Henry McMaster secured his first full four-year term since succeeding the Governorship in 2017 after then-Governor Nikki Haley resigned to become the US Ambassador to the United Nations. McMaster handedly defeated his opponent James Smith with 54% of the vote.
    • McMaster’s Lieutenant Governor will be Pam Evette, a businessowner from Spartanburg. This was the first election in which the governor and lieutenant governor were on the same ballot.
  • State House & Senate
    • The house remained consistent. 68 representatives ran uncontested, and the other 56 seats remained consistent, with the majority of current legislators retaining their seats.
    • The only state Senate race was a special election for the district 20, which covers portions of Lexington and Richland counties and which was vacated after former Republican Senator John Courson’s resignation. Dems managed to pick up the seat as Dick Harpootlian defeated Republican Benjamin Dunn with 52% of the vote.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: Despite small Democratic gains, Republicans retain a majority in both chambers at the state level. Ds managed to flip the senate seat in a special election. We’ll see what happens when all the other state senate seats are up for grabs in 2020 At the federal level, the Democratic Party successfully added a US Congressional seat in District 1, shocking politicos across the country: The last time Democrats flipped a House seat in SC was 1986.
  • For information on your district’s winners and losers, check out this detailed New York Times article on the SC elections

Rhode Island Rep. Casimiro Visits BAYADA Office to Learn about Home Care and SIM lab.

Thank you to our newest Hearts for Home Care Ambassadors, CSM Beth Schenck and Director Courtney Donald, for your coordination of an impactful legislative roundtable and office tour with Representative Julie Casimiro (D-North Kingstown, Exeter)! An additional thanks to Clinical Educator Cristina Gomes, Associate Sabrina Soares, and the RIS, RSP, and RAC offices!

After greeting everyone in the office, Rep. Casimiro walked through all of the BAYADA Rhode Island offices with a sense of curiosity and helpfulness.  She asked about the services we provide, where our clients and employees are located, and the challenges we face.

Cristina Gomes took Rep. Casimiro into the Rhode Island Skilled Pediatric SIM Lab to demonstrate the sophisticated training we offer and how we use it to support our nurses and clients in the home. Cristina explained each piece of equipment and provided scenarios where she has been able to successfully use the lab, as well as virtual and in-home training to advance nurses, skills to care for medically complex children outside of a facility of hospital setting.  She explained how we reevaluate each nurses skills annually and provide ongoing support as needed to make sure our nurses are confident, competent and prepared for any emergency.

We stood in front of the large white board with all of our open shifts, while she skimmed the cities and noticed there were in fact several pediatric clients in her District who are not currently receiving all of the PDN nursing services they are authorized for.  She was determined to find out why this is happening and how she can help everyone on that board.  The office staff explained that because the reimbursement rates for Medicaid mean that nurses pay rates at home are significantly lower than what they can earn in a hospital or facility.  Even Massachusetts rates are approximately 40 percent higher than in RI, so our state’s nurses are traveling across state lines to care for people in other states instead of staying her to care for our vulnerable Rhode Islanders.  It was clear that Rep. Casimiro completely understood the issue while we walked away from the board, towards the SIM Lab – she was shaking her head and said “How can I help? I want to help fix this”

Rep. Casimiro not only asked detailed and thoughtful questions about home care nursing and CNA services, but committed to a home visit with a pediatric client. She even offered her assistance with any legislation we propose this session to help ensure Rhode Islanders get the home care they need!

Thank you, Rep. Casimiro for being a friend of home care! For information about how you can get involved in advocacy on behalf of your staff and clients, contact me today!

Key RI Home Visits Show Legislators and Medicaid Officials the Importance of Home Care

Home Visit 1: Rhode Island’s Deputy Medicaid Director and Medicaid Chief of Staff Meet with BAYADA RIS Client Kevin and his long-time nurse Larry

Recently, Deputy Medicaid Program Director Marlanea Peabody and Chief of Staff John Bonin visited Rhode Island Skilled (RIS) client Kevin to learn about the high acuity nursing services that Kevin receives from his long-time BAYADA nurse, Larry, and about the struggles that he and his family have recently faced due to issues within the state.

This year, Kevin’s home care nursing coverage switched from Neighborhood Health Plan of RI’s Managed Medicaid Plan to Medicaid Fee-for-Service, which caused the nursing reimbursement rates to drop more than $10.00 per hour. Kevin’s parents explained to Marlanea and John the challenges of navigating the medical coverage options for their son, as well as the added stresses of worrying about the effect the lower rate will have on Kevin’s nurse, Larry. Mom elaborated further about the unfortunate nature of their situation – that all of this is weighing on them while also dealing with the emotions surrounding the inevitability of Kevin’s diagnosis of Duchene’s Muscular Dystrophy.

Larry has been Kevin’s nurse for more than eight years. Seeing them together is like watching two best friends hang out – there’s always laughter and joking! They go bowling every Thursday, watch football, go to races and you can clearly see they enjoy each other’s company. With the transition of Kevin’s medical plan going from Managed Medicaid to Fee-for-Service, there is a possibility that with the drastic reduction in reimbursement rates that Larry’s pay may be reduced. If Larry decided to leave Kevin because of reduced rates to make more money elsewhere, not only would the family lose the ability to work, support their household and maintain some type normalcy, but Kevin would be devastated!

The home visit focused on educating our regulatory officials about what high-tech nursing involves, what home care nurses are responsible for, the value of continuity of care with consistent nursing and the quality of life Kevin has because of his long time nurse, Larry.

Both Marlanea and John asked great questions, engaged on high level discussion with mom and dad about the program transition and left the visit saying how grateful they were for the opportunity. They had the chance to not only witness Kevin’s high-tech care but also his strong bond with his nurse Larry.

Thank you to our regulators for attending this home visit and for being so receptive and responsive to Kevin and his family’s needs. Thank you to RIS Clinical Manager Bob Cardin and RIS Director Rick Boschwitz for coordinating this important visit with Kevin, his family, and Larry!

Home Visit 2: House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello Visits Corinna Calise, Who Relies on Home Care to Live with Her Family

Corinna’s parents, Michelle and Michael, first learned their daughter had Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) when she was just 11 months old. “We were told to take our daughter home and enjoy whatever time we can with her because she’s not going to live to see her second birthday,” Michelle said. Now, thanks to the in-home care she receives, Corinna is thriving nearly 20 years later. Due to her condition, her nurses must have specialized training in life-sustaining equipment for tracheostomy care and ventilator maintenance, which allows Corinna to stay in her home with her family, instead of living in a facility. “People who don’t know us and see Corinna’s condition, say ‘how do you do it?’” Michelle said. “I will admit it can be difficult, but we feel blessed. Corinna is so much fun; she interacts as a typical young adult mentally and emotionally.”

Corinna and her family welcomed their Representative and Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello (D-Cranston) into their home for a visit to learn more about home care and the nurses providing Corinna’s care. Corinna is in college now, and she loves advocacy and policy and is considering going into Political Science. When the Speaker heard of Corinna’s interest in politics, he offered his help by inviting her up to sit in on session and get a behind the scenes tour of his office and House Chambers.

Corinna, her nurse, and her mom offered insight into some of the challenges with her home care nursing. Specifically, they discussed the low reimbursement rates for Medicaid which are not able to provide fair wages to highly trained nurses, like Corinna’s who must be able to provide tracheostomy care and ventilator maintenance. It’s imperative that they be ready at a moment’s notice if there should be an emergency, while also knowing the faint signs Corinna displays where there is an underlying issue developing. The Speaker was asking great questions to probe further discussion about how vital her nurses are to her wellbeing.  When Corinna was asked, “If you had a blank check, how much would you pay your nurses?” she replied by said “A LOT!”

During his visit, Speaker Mattiello was presented with a Legislative Champion Award by the Rhode Island Partnership for Home Care for his advocacy on behalf of home care and hospice providers, their direct care staff, their patients and clients and their families.

We are beyond grateful to have Speaker Nicholas Mattiello as a champion for home care! Thank you to everyone involved with this impactful visit!

It is important that we advocate for our staff and clients and show our legislators and regulators how Medicaid rates and other state and federal policies impact home care. For information on ways you can get involved in advocacy, contact me today.

The state election wrapped up, and the DE PAC supported winners!

BAYADA’s Delaware PAC supported ten candidates throughout 2018. The PAC Board chooses candidates from both sides of the aisle that demonstrate awareness and support of home care and our issues. Of the ten candidates, all seven that were up for re-election on November 6 won! The other three will be up for reelection in 2020.

What does this mean? That the DE PAC chooses winners! It also means that none of the key legislators that we identified as home care supporters left office. This is exciting news for DE PAC members that chose to support our champions! Thank you DE PAC members! Below is a list of those we contributed to and their election status.

Rep. David Bentz (D- Christiana) Chair of House Health Committee Re-elected
Sen. Bryan Townsend (D- Bear, Brookside) Chair of Senate Health Committee Re-elected
Sen. Ernie Lopez (R- Milton, Rehoboth) Member of Senate Health Committee Re-elected
Rep. Paul Baumbach (D- Newark) Member of House Health Committee Re-elected
Rep. Kevin Hensley (R- Middletown) Member of House Health Committee Re-elected
Rep. Michael Ramone (R- Newark) Member of Joint Finance Committee Re-elected
Rep. Debra Heffernan (D- Wilmington) Vice Chair of House Health Committee, Member of Joint Finance Committee Re-elected

 

Governor John Carney (D) Up for election in 2020
Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long (D) Up for election in 2020
Sen. Nicole Poore (D- Bear) Senate Majority Whip, Member of Senate Health Committee, Member of Joint Finance Committee Up for election in 2020

If you are interested in learning more about the BAYADA PACs, contact me today!