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!