Submitted by Tara Montague, Manager, Client and Family Advocacy, NJ (GAO)
Last Tuesday, three of our pediatric clients met with their local legislators to show them what home health care is all about. Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll, from District 25, visited the home of 20 year old client Lily K. out of our Morris Plains Pediatrics (PED) office. Lily’s mom, Emma, and PED Director Christine Rios shared their thoughts on the necessity of home health care services with the Assemblyman, as they explained Lily’s various needs. Lily just wanted him to play catch with her.
The second visit of the day, was to the home of two clients from the Passaic County Pediatrics (PCP) office. Dawn Moeller, mom to clients Zak and Tyler, invited Senator Gerald Cardinale into their home to share what it’s like to have not one, but two children who are medically fragile and
require nursing care. The Senator talked to the boys and then sat down at the kitchen table with Dawn, as well as Clinical Manager Rachel Faber and Client Service Manager AnneMarie Desantis and had an honest conversation about the needs of their family and others who are medically complex. The Senator even asked Dawn to stay in touch with him by email so he could help.
Submitted by Rick Hynick, Director, Client and Family Advocacy (GAO)
On August 23, the Government Affairs Office (GAO) gathered in Philadelphia, along with a few office and field employees with advanced advocacy interests. The goal of the day was to develop tactics to engage both clients and employees who enjoy advocacy to influence decision makers to support home health care. Building awareness, Inspiring engagement and Empowering advocates were three main phases that were at the heart of our discussions related to grassroots advocacy efforts for our clients and families here at BAYADA and also for the many others who will be moved to join us from the community.
We now have a Facebook page and Twitter feed dedicated just to Hearts for Home Care advocacy. Please like the page, follow our feed, and share both of them with your co-workers, clients, family, and friends. Feel free to like, comment, and share posts and tweets that resonate with you and your experiences. We’ll see you there!
Submitted by Shannon Gahs, Director, MD Government Affairs (GAO)
Over the last two weeks, the Government Affairs Office (GAO) has been busy behind the scenes, building a coalition to advocate together for increased reimbursements in pediatric care. Working together, we show that this is an issue that matters not only to us as a potential provider in this area, but to clients, their families, our trade association, and current providers. We are stronger together than we are individually!
Submitted by Conner Sheets, Intern, Government Affairs (GAO)
If you’ve been following the news lately then you know that the efforts of Senate Republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare have been shut down; what you may not know is how we got to this point.
The recent argument in the Senate over healthcare began with the drafting of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (“BCRA”). The bill attracted controversy over the mystery of its creation and the large number of Americans that would go without care if the bill were to become law. When we heard that Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell planned to bring the BCRA to a Senate vote, BAYADA Home Healthcare mobilized. Employees, clients, and families sent over 125,000 emails and placed over 600 phone calls to key Senators. In the end, McConnell decided he didn’t have the needed votes and we took a collective deep breath.
Unfortunately, the peace did not last long. The Senate voted to bring three pieces of legislation to the debate floor: an edited BCRA, a “repeal now, replace later” bill, and a “skinny repeal” that got rid of some parts of Obamacare without removing the legislation completely. Millions of clients currently receiving services under Medicaid would be harmed by any of these bills, so BAYADA wasted no time in mobilizing once again. Over the course of two-and-a-half days, BAYADA employees, clients, and supporters sent an astonishing 69,000 emails to key Senators! One by one, the three bills failed in the Senate.
There is no doubt that the incredible movement of BAYADA and our friends played a role in protecting Medicaid during this debacle. Whether you are a Democrat, a Republican or an Independent, the issue was simple – save the Medicaid program and the services that we know are crucial to the health and well-being of so many of our clients and caregivers. We’d like to thank each of every one of those who took action and helped protect the lives of Medicaid clients everywhere. Your efforts are making sure the government stays a government “by the people, for the people”.
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 Mike Sokoloski, Manager, Grassroots Advocacy (GAO)
The mission of the Government Affairs Office (GAO) is to act as a voice for our clients, their families, and our employees through education, advocacy, service and research on a full time basis. At BAYADA, we also have a thriving ambassador program to develop and foster relationships with local legislators through district and home visits, and by keeping office staff informed of key legislative issues.
However, anyone at BAYADA can actively participate through our social avenues on Facebook and Twitter by sharing our messages of advocacy with friends and family.
Submitted by Tara Montague, Manager, Client and Family Advocacy, NJ (GAO)
On May 26, Mount Laurel Pediatrics (MLP) client Crista Jackson met Assemblyman Troy Singleton at the door and invited him in for a visit. The assemblyman, from the 7th District, came to the home of Crista’s mom, Jenn Asson, in Willingboro to hear more about her life as the mother to a child with significant medical needs. Crista, age 3, was all smiles for the assemblyman as her mother and her nurse, Denise Wills, looked on. “She’s a tough little kid,” the assemblyman told Crista’s mom.
In addition to Assemblyman Singleton, Crista also had visitors from the Burlington County Times, who was documenting the visit for an article.
Thanks to Hearts for Home Care Ambassador and MLP Social Media Associate Brooke Fitzpatrick, who helped to arrange everything with Crista’s family for the visit to take place.
Submitted by Rick Hynick, Director, Client and Family Advocacy
I recently met with a mother who has a teenage daughter suffering from a severe degenerative muscular condition. The mom wants people to realize that caregivers are extremely important to a person with special medical needs. She explained that the average person can use a bathroom in a minute or two. Even with a caregiver, it takes 15 to 20 minutes for her daughter to use the bathroom, with the maneuvering of her wheelchair in the tight layout of a bathroom and just trying to safely get on and off of the wheelchair. The mom asks that we all slow down and think about the importance of the many daily tasks that we all need to undertake and support caregivers in every way possible.
Submitted by Laura Ness, Director, PA Government Affairs (GAO)
Each year the Government Affairs Office (GAO) selects one outstanding Ambassador as their Rookie of the Year. The individual honored must be a new Ambassador who has made an impact on clients’ lives and on the Ambassador program.
As GAO discussed the nominees it was evident that Berks County Visits (BRK) Nurse Trisha Lasher was the clear winner. Trisha is an RN and was BAYADA’s first field employee to serve as a Hearts for Home Care Ambassador.
While she was nervous about her first meeting with a legislator, she decided to keep her commitments as promised and do it on her own. We are so happy she did because she hasn’t stopped since. Trisha started by visiting Representative Jim Cox (R) in his district, and followed up with him later that year in Harrisburg at Lobby Day. She wrote about her experience in the BAYADA Bulletin, which prompted a joint home visit with Representative Cox and the Reading Adult (RAD) Office. Because of the relationship she has built with Representative Cox, he took immediate action to help an adult client when he visited her.
The client had been trying to get a chair glide installed in her house for five years. After the visit, Representative Cox made several calls to service coordinators, found systemic fraud and flaws in the system, and was able to get the client the chair glide within six weeks of the home visit.
Building on their relationship, Representative Cox agreed to write letters of support for our pediatric rate increase and the Medicaid spend-down issue.
To further her advocacy efforts, as election time rolled around and GAO hosted the Bring the Vote Home Campaign, Trisha enlisted the help of all the office staff to call all clients. They educated clients on voting, the PHA voter guide, and let them know about absentee ballots. Trisha then organized field employees to deliver absentee ballots.
From building relationships to advocating for clients’ needs, Trisha has shown her dedication to being an excellent Hearts for Home Care Ambassador.
Honorees traveled to Washington, DC to celebrate their achievements. They enjoyed a private festive reception before heading to dinner and the awards presentation at a local restaurant. Senator Tom Carper joined the group to address some of the major issues affecting health care at the federal level, and to congratulate our Ambassador of the Year awardees. Before heading home, Ambassadors and their guests also spent time touring the city with stops including the White House, Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, and the US Capitol.