Submitted by Rick Hynick, Director, Client and Family Advocacy (GAO)
Karen R, the daughter of a client who receives personal care waiver services and has strong interests in home health care advocacy, oversees a family-run volunteer program started last year called Betty and the Bear. This program donates hand-made teddy bears to people with dementia and anyone who has had an organ transplant letting them know that they are special and cared for by many. Last year, they donated 55 bears. For more information about this program, or how you can help sew a bear, please email me at email@example.com.
Submitted by Lee Dobson, Area Director, NC Government Affairs (GAO)
Legislative successes, like the Medicaid rate increase for nursing last year and the home health aide increase this year, don’t magically happen. Legislative successes start with an identified need — low Medicaid rates made it impossible to pay people what they are worth — and end with legislators supporting jobs in the community and keeping families together by investing in home health care. Every step along the way, our Hearts for Home Care ambassadors carried our unified message to decision-makers. Our cumulative actions over the years, including home and district visits, legislative round tables with lawmakers, responding to calls to action, attending lobby days, etc., made all the difference. Individually and collectively our shared voices got results. Join us to be a Heart for Home Care ambassador.
Submitted by Shannon Gahs, Director, MD Government Affairs (GAO)
The “Interim” or time between the end of one legislative session and the beginning of the next, is a key time to develop relationships with partners and legislators. Much of this work is behind the scenes, but you can get involved! We need ambassadors and other office or field employee volunteers to step up to organize district office visits, where you and I will visit key legislators in the communities they represent. These visits are key to helping educate our legislators about the people we care for and the people we employ in their districts and build a foundation for future advocacy. Call or email me if you’d like to get involved.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submitted by Rick Hynick, Director, Client and Family Advocacy
On July 27, staff from the Government Affairs Office (GAO): Mike Sokoloski, Laura Ness, Tara Montague, and I coordinated an event at Temple University in Philadelphia entitled, Family Day. This event brought together CRO families, legislators, field staff and office staff, including some of our ambassadors, with the goal of bringing attention to the need for an OLTL personal assistance rate increase. The event was highlighted by a client presentation, legislative presentations, and focus group meetings where stories of how a rate increase would improve quality of care.
Submitted by Tara Montague, Manager, Client and Family Advocacy, NJ (GAO)
As a new Hearts for Home Care Ambassador, Toms River Pediatrics (TRP) Client Services Manager Allison Nulton has been enthusiastically educating legislators on matters relating to her clients. Earlier this summer, Allison took the initiative and invited state legislator Senator Samuel Thompson to a home visit for one of her clients. So, on July 26, Allison, TRP Clinical Associate Suzanne McCuen, and the clients’ mom Jocelyn took turns explaining to Senator Thompson about the needs of the children and how important home health care has been in keeping the boys at home.
While Jake (right) is the only one who receives services from BAYADA his brother Ben (left) is also afflicted by the same disease.
Submitted by Louise Lindenmeier, Director, NJ Government Affairs (GAO)
On June 15, 25 Hearts for Home Care Ambassadors met in Trenton for a Town Hall meeting hosted by our lobby group, Capital Impact Group. Chief Government Affairs Officer David Totaro and lobbyists Gene Mulroy and Paul Crupi discussed the upcoming election, budget, and what we will see in the next administration. Dave addressed what is happening in Washington with health care changes and possible impacts on our state. After a quick lunch, the group toured the State House, where they were able to meet legislators in the halls and gain an overview of the State House history. Everyone enjoyed the day.
Submitted by Louise Lindenmeier, Director, NJ Government Affairs, (GAO)
NJ GAO held its first Advocacy Week, May 1 – 5, as Ambassadors met with 25 legislators. Throughout New Jersey, 67 office employees, two home health aides, and two clients spoke with legislators about the difficulties of attracting and retaining nurses, covering hours for private duty nursing, and the need for higher reimbursement for the Personal Care Assistant program under managed Medicaid. The aides told the legislators how much they love their work but can’t make enough to support their families. The clients spoke about how important their aides are by providing care, and, if not for the aides, they would be in long-term care.
As part of the advocacy week, office staff participated by sending out 408 emails to state legislators regarding the importance of home care. The message asked the legislators to support a reimbursement floor rate in managed Medicaid. Everyone who met with legislators expressed how much they enjoyed the experience and how good it felt to advocate for our clients and families.
Submitted by Louise Lindenmeier, Director, NJ Government Affairs (GAO)
On July 3, Governor Christie signed the NJ budget which contains a budget resolution to increase the Personal Care Assistant rate under fee-for-service. I am happy to inform you the NJ PCA fee-for-service rate is now $19.00 per hour. The new rate is effective as of July 1, 2017. This is largely due to the support of BAYADA leadership, the directors and their office staff, and our wonderful Hearts for Home Care Ambassadors who made legislative office visits, held legislative roundtables, and offered home visits advocating for our clients and families. Great advocacy efforts by all!