BAYADA to US Senate: No hearing. No vote.

Submitted by Dave Totaro, Chief Government Affairs Officer (GAO)

 

This is the most important “Call to Action” in BAYADA’s history. The US Senate in Washington is pushing through a bill that would drastically cut services and access to care by trying to vote on a bill without any hearings or any debate.

As Hearts for Home Care, you will undoubtedly be a driving force to preventing this potentially damaging action. In fact, more than 2,400 of our champions have already sent more than 120,000 letters to senators and our #NoHearingNoVote hashtag has been posted more than 700 times with a reach of 2 MILLION users on Twitter! Continue to have conversations with your colleagues and encourage advocacy. We have complete and total confidence that your efforts will be paramount to our success!

Take action three different ways!

 

  1. Email US Senators: If you haven’t already, please visit www.bayada.com/actnow to take action now. Note: You will be asked to enter your work e-mail and home zip code to take action.After you take action, forward the link to three friends and share it on your social media pages!
  2. Facebook profile frame: Use these instructions to add a #NoHearingNoVote frame to your profile picture.
  3. #NoHearingNoVote social media post: Post a photo of yourself, your fellow Hearts for Home Care, or your loved ones holding up a sign showing that we’re standing up for our clients and caregivers. When you share, be sure to include the hashtag #nohearingnovote in the caption.

Where are we now?

On Thursday, June 22, the Senate released the Better Care Reconciliation Act, a “discussion draft” of its version of the American Health Care Act. Four Republican senators have stated publicly they do not support the bill in its current form, meaning it cannot pass the Senate without changes being made to it. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is not expected to release a cost estimate of the legislation until early next week. A vote in the Senate could occur prior to the July 4 recess.

This version of the legislation would make broad changes to federal spending in these five areas:

  1.    Medicaid: Reduces federal matching rate for adults covered by the Medicaid expansion; caps the growth in per-enrollee payments for most Medicaid beneficiaries
  2.    Tax credits and related coverage provisions: Eliminates subsidies to purchase plans from the individual market in 2020; revises ACA tax credits
  3.    Patient and state stability fund grants: Provides $112 billion to states and insurers to reduce premiums for insurance purchased in the individual market
  4.    Penalty payments: Eliminates the employer mandate and individual mandate penalties
  5.    Noncoverage provisions: Repeals multiple taxes not relating to coverage, including the tax on high-income people and the medical device tax

Government Affairs Office Completes Harrisburg, PA Office Blitz

Submitted by Laura Ness, Director, PA Government Affairs (GAO)

This week, Chief Government Affairs Officer Dave Totaro and I met with more than 15 different legislators and staff in Harrisburg. The intent was to follow up from our lobby day to answer any additional questions and concerns they may have regarding the personal assistant services (PAS) increase and the pending presumptive eligibility language. Although it is a tough budget year, legislators understood our need to increase the PAS rate and pass presumptive eligibility. In the coming weeks, the Government Affairs Office (GAO) plans to follow up with all legislators as they begin budget negotiations.

BAYADA to US Senate: No hearing. No vote.

Submitted by Dave Totaro, Chief Government Affairs Officer (GAO)

This is the most important “Call to Action” in BAYADA’s history. The US Senate in Washington is pushing through a bill that would drastically cut services and access to care by trying to vote on a bill without any hearings or any debate.

As Hearts for Home Care, you will undoubtedly be a driving force to preventing this potentially damaging action. In fact, more than 2,400 of our champions have already sent more than 120,000 letters to senators and our #NoHearingNoVote hashtag has been posted more than 700 times with a reach of 2 MILLION users on Twitter! Continue to have conversations with your colleagues and encourage advocacy. We have complete and total confidence that your efforts will be paramount to our success!

Take action three different ways!

  1. Email US Senators: If you haven’t already, please visit www.bayada.com/actnow to take action now. Note: You will be asked to enter your work e-mail and home zip code to take action.After you take action, forward the link to three friends and share it on your social media pages!
  2. Facebook profile frame: Use these instructions to add a #NoHearingNoVote frame to your profile picture.
  3. #NoHearingNoVote social media post: Post a photo of yourself, your fellow Hearts for Home Care, or your loved ones holding up a sign showing that we’re standing up for our clients and caregivers. When you share, be sure to include the hashtag #nohearingnovote in the caption.

Where are we now?

On Thursday, June 22, the Senate released the Better Care Reconciliation Act, a “discussion draft” of its version of the American Health Care Act. Four Republican senators have stated publicly they do not support the bill in its current form, meaning it cannot pass the Senate without changes being made to it. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is not expected to release a cost estimate of the legislation until early next week. A vote in the Senate could occur prior to the July 4 recess.

This version of the legislation would make broad changes to federal spending in these five areas:

  1. Medicaid: Reduces federal matching rate for adults covered by the Medicaid expansion; caps the growth in per-enrollee payments for most Medicaid beneficiaries
  2. Tax credits and related coverage provisions: Eliminates subsidies to purchase plans from the individual market in 2020; revises ACA tax credits
  3.  Patient and state stability fund grants: Provides $112 billion to states and insurers to reduce premiums for insurance purchased in the individual market
  4.  Penalty payments: Eliminates the employer mandate and individual mandate penalties
  5.  Noncoverage provisions: Repeals multiple taxes not relating to coverage, including the tax on high-income people and the medical device tax

Successful Storytelling at the North Carolina Legislative Day

Submitted by Mike Sokoloski, Grassroots Advocacy Manager, GAO

​On Wednesday, May 17, more than 60 BAYADA employees and one client arrived in their red attire to advocate to the North Carolina legislature, effectively communicating the importance of home care through storytelling to more than 110 legislators! We gathered on the red carpeted steps of the General Assembly to honor our Legislator of the Year, Senator Tommy Tucker. He has been a steadfast supporter of home care. Last year, he inserted language to increase the nursing rate by 10% for medically fragile children.

Click here to access our Hearts for Home Care Advocacy photo album on Facebook. >>
“While the medical condition of your clients puts them at high risk for hospitalization and placement in nursing homes, they deserve to stay at home, and they can with support of home nursing,” said Sen. Tucker. “The work that you do helps North Carolinians have a better quality of life, and saves the state tremendous amounts of money. We absolutely need to invest in these services.”

Speaking to the vital importance of advocacy, Chief Government Affairs Officer Dave Totaro said, “We must continue to recruit new voices to create the movement necessary to protect and retain benefits critical to the care of our clients. BAYADA has always led the way and we will continue to do so.”

I had the privilege of being joined by a new BAYADA employee, Gastonia, NC Pediatrics (GP) Client Services Manager Foster Krebs. He made an immediate connection with Sen. John Alexander with a story about a client family’s struggle, noting that we cannot retain field staff on one of his pediatric cases.

 

“After the first visit with Representative Hurley,” said Foster, “I was less anxious and felt more comfortable. In fact, once I realized my story resonated with lawmakers, I was able to enjoy myself.”

Keeping this engagement with legislators throughout the year is vital as well. Legislative Day is just a start to the numerous district visits, town halls, and home visits to come in 2017.

“I’m so proud of our staff,” said Area Director of Government Affairs Lee Dobson. “It was clear they had powerful stories to tell and were telling them. Their enthusiasm was contagious and in true BAYADA fashion, our smiles were seen and felt.”

We were there to seek an increase to the Medicaid aide rate from $13.88 to $17.00, over two years, and to communicate how one-on-one in-home aide services can help reduce health care expenditures by minimizing costs associated with falls, ER visits, and re-hospitalizations, and prevent or delay institutionalization while preserving quality of life. Home care also creates jobs in the community and allows families to continue to work, while being a cost-savings to the state.

This was understood by Senator Andrew Brock, who said, “I understand why you are asking for the increase. You won’t find the people to do the work at what you’re able to pay. This is a worthwhile allocation.”

A special thanks to Raleigh, NC Adult Nursing (RAN) Transitional Care Manager Paulette Troy for being the Legislative Nurse of the Day. For her volunteerism, she was recognized in both the House and Senate chambers, who said, “It was a privilege to represent BAYADA.”

Advocacy is an important role in the political process. We appreciate our advocates for making the time to be the voice for our staff and clients by sharing our stories. The General Assembly was a sea of BAYADA red. Thank you!

South Carolina Legislative Day a Success

Submitted by Lee Dobson, Area Director (GAO)

Small and Mighty

Last month South Carolina joined the ranks of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania by hosting its first annual lobby day. All participants dressed in BAYADA red, and our smiles were seen and felt as our eight BAYADA Hearts for Home Care Ambassadors spread our common message—home care keeps families together, and creates jobs in the community while saving the state money.

“I was thrilled to join our small-but-strong BAYADA team in Columbia, SC as we continue to build our fledgling advocacy program,” said Chief Government Affairs Officer Dave Totaro. “It is exciting to see the enthusiasm from our SC team as they advocate for our clients and staff, and the very positive reception we got from the legislators and their teams. I am very optimistic about our future in SC.”

During the one-day event, our delegation reached 30 lawmakers, including key house and senate leaders who oversee the Medicaid programs. Medicaid rates are one of the lowest in the nation, and making a connection with members is a great start to resolving that.

Division Director Melissa Allman understands the important role advocacy plays in the political process. She shared, “Building our brand goes hand-in-hand with building relationships with lawmakers. They are responsible for the rates.”

Our advocacy day was a great first step in garnering support for home care. Our Hearts for Home Care Ambassadors plan to schedule home and district visits with members over the summer to keep the momentum of our outreach efforts going.

 

Quotes from attendees:

  • Associate Director Nicole Lugo: “Making a personal connection with a lawmaker is simpler than you think. They are people too.”
  • Associate Director Stephanie Black: “This was my first experience and I loved it! I’m convinced the more they know us, the more they’ll see the impact on families, the more they’ll invest in home care.”
  • Associate Director Amy Ramey: “Every senator and representative I spoke with had a story about a family member or friend who has received or is in need of services. I was honored to be a voice for our clients.”
  • Associate Director Cari Altom: “I was impressed that members actually left session to come speak with us in the lobby. Glad I came.”

Government Affairs Maryland Office Tour Shares Information and Finds Outpouring of Interest

Submitted by Shannon Gahs, Associate Director, MD Government Affairs (GAO)

Last week, Chief Government Affairs Officer Dave Totaro, the newest member of the Government Affairs Team Grassroots Advocacy Manager Mike Sokoloski, and I went on a tour of every service office in the state.  We discussed current events in federal and state politics and shared how BAYADA has impacted policy decisions while getting to know the dedicated employees we have across the state.  We were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and interest employees had in getting involved as ambassadors.  For more information on advocating for our clients and employees, reach out to Mike or me!

BAYADA GAO Attends Event Honoring 2015 BAYADA Home Health Care Champion Bill Adolph

Submitted by Laura Ness, Director, PA Government Affairs (GAO)

The Springfield Republicans hosted an event to thank Representative Adolph for his service this past St. Patrick’s Day.

Representative Bill Adolph served as the House Appropriations Chair and was a key legislator in helping us achieve a $5 per hour increase for pediatric shift nursing in Pennsylvania in 2016.

His tireless advocacy and perseverance helped ensure BAYADA will be able to recruit and retain the nurses needed to serve our pediatric population.

Unfortunately for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Representative Adolph retired from the legislature at the end of last year.

Chief Government Affairs Officer Dave Totaro and I had the opportunity to attend the evening and thank Representative Bill Adolph again for championing our rate increase.  The event was well-attended with over 200 local supporters, dignitaries, and elected officials. We also had the opportunity to see Senator Scott Wagner, who is also running for Governor, and Congressmen Pat Meehan.

 

GAO Makes Progress on Rate Increase During Meeting with Senator Scott Wagner

Submitted by Laura Ness, Director, PA Government Affairs (GAO)

On April 6th BAYADA Leaders, including Practice President David Baiada, Chief Government Affairs Officer Dave Totaro, Assistive Care State Programs (ACSP) Practice Leader Eric Thul, Crocus Division Director Kevin Kuzmick, PCA Director Donna Russell-Kane, and I  met with Senator and Gubernatorial Candidate Scott Wagner.  This meeting was a result of a previous meeting that Dave Totaro and I had with Senator Wagner introducing the need to increase the personal assistant services (PAS) rate under the Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL) by an average of 10%.

The meeting took place in the BAYADA PCA office. We discussed the ACSP business, its challenges and advantages, as well as the wage issues associated with the program.  Senator Wagner also heard first-hand about what it’s like to be a home health aide from PA Department of Aging’s Direct Care Worker of the Year, BAYADA aide Anne Pannone. 

The conversation was productive, and Senator Wagner understands the value of home care and the cost savings it can provide to the Commonwealth. He has agreed to help us in our legislative priority of increasing the PAS rates and would also like to spend a day in the field with Anne to see the work first-hand.

We look forward to continuing to work with Senator Wagner.

MassHealth Announces Second Rate Increase In The Face Of Budget Deficit

Submitted by Laura Ness, Director, Government Affairs (GAO)

Last week, Chief Government Affairs Officer Dave Totaro, Boston Pediatrics Director Emery Hughes, and other industry leaders and families gathered together to meet with MassHealth.  MassHealth had asked for the meeting, in regards to the Continuous Skilled Nursing (CSN) program.  During the meeting, MassHealth stated that they recognized that low reimbursement rates were a major problem within the program.  They have planned to increase the rates by 2.25% effective July 1, 2017.  This is the second reimbursement increase we have been notified about within three months.  The organizations working to increase this rate were pleased with this movement but recognized that this is a fraction of what is needed to stabilize the rates.  We look forward to continuing our efforts to increase the CSN rates by a total of $15 per hour.

Supporting Home Care at the Rhode Island State House

Submitted by Rick Hynick, Director of Client and Family Advocacy

On Tuesday, April 11, a crowd of people gathered at the state room in the Rhode Island State House to thank those in our state government who support the many children, adults, and their families who rely on home care. The gathering was part of an event planned on behalf of BAYADA and the Rhode Island Partnership for Home Care.

“We’re here today to thank those legislators who have listened to your conversations and heard your challenges, and have become steadfast supporters to make your lives and the lives of your children better,” said BAYADA Chief Government Affairs Officer Dave Totaro. Dave and other representatives from GAO partnered with Rhode Island Skilled (RIS) pediatrics Director Ashley Sadlier and her staff to make the event a success.

State Representative Gregg Amore was presented with a 2017 Legislative Advocacy Award for his tireless work to back the needs of his constituents and the many other residents of the state who use home care services on a daily basis. Senator Hannah Gallo was also recognized but could not be present. Additionally, Lieutenant Governor Daniel Mckee spoke about the important role home care plays in the lives of many Rhode Island residents.

Mr. Mckee and Rep. Amore continued to discuss the positive impact of home care, to the great interest of our clients and their families who were present in the audience. These families—the very people who rely on having nurses to provide clinical care to their loved ones—can offer firsthand testimony as to why home care is so vital.

Eric Olson—the father of client Liam and a long-time home care advocate—explained that the nurses who work with his son have such a connection with him. They understand that many of Liam’s movements are actually the way he communicates what kind of care he needs from moment to moment. He went on to explain that, without the close connection that the nurses have with his son, Liam would not be where he is today. With their help, he has thrived, despite his dependence on many mechanical devices. Eric went on to underscore how important it is that the families work with the elected officials, as they have the ability to make positive change.

“Our goal today was to bring enough of these voices together so we can start to make a difference.  Not just for families in this room, but for all families who want to keep their loved ones at home,” Dave said.  Side by side, BAYADA and the Rhode Island Partnership for Home Care provide significant support to the goals of legislators and families who depend on home care. We are working together for a better tomorrow for all home care services in Rhode Island.