Morris Plains Pediatrics Office Sponsors First Community Advocacy Meeting

Submitted by Tara Montague, Manager, Client and Family Advocacy

Photo (NJ2): Christine Rios with the family and community members at the meeting.

Morris Plains Pediatrics (PED) Director Christine Rios was enthusiastic about working with the Government Affairs Office (GAO) to create the first client and community advocacy group in the state.  Despite the torrential downpours, four family and community members ventured out to the inaugural meeting on April 6, at PED.  The small group shared resources and offered each other support.  I discussed the need for legislative advocacy for home health care and how client and family voices can create a lasting impact with legislators.  A second meeting has already been scheduled for June 7.

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.

Home Visits Outreach

Submitted by Lee Dobson, Area Director, NC Government Affairs (GAO)

This quarter, our Hearts for Home Care Ambassadors have completed two home visits with assistive care state program clients. In both instances, members were able to visit with a constituent who relies on aide services under Medicaid and heard directly from families on the value our certified nursing assistants (CNAs) play in keeping their family together. Keep up the great work.

• MON Client Services Manager (CSM) Rachel Cauble hosted Representative Dean Arp
• CPC CSM Shayla Jemmott and Deborah Batts hosted Representative Andy Dulin

Expanding Our Reach Through A NC Home Visit

Submitted by Lee Dobson, Area Director, NC Government Affairs (GAO)

When freshman NC Representative Andy Dulin expressed an interest in home health care, Charlotte Personal Care (CPC) Hearts for Home Care Ambassador and Client Service Manager Shayla Jemmott, and Clinical Manager Deborah Batts jumped into action. They hosted a home visit with CJ, a 24-year old young man with cerebral palsy, and his family. CJ’s mom explained how the three hours per day of certified nursing assistant services allows her to work and gives them a sense of peace knowing CJ is happy and healthy. Rep. Dulin asked great questions and was surprised to learn that the aide rate, at $13.88, is only $0.44 cents higher than back in 2001. He indicated he is willing to help us garner support for the increase.

""
Representative Dulin with CJ

NJ Client Advocacy Program Moves Forward

Submitted by Tara Montague, Manager, NJ Client and Family Advocacy(GAO)

Government Affairs Office Director Louise Lindenmeier and I have visited with over 28 offices so far this year, to talk about client and family advocacy and Hearts for Home Care.  Response from the service offices has been overwhelmingly positive and the stories shared by the offices inspire me more every day.   BAYADA employees have begun to identify clients who have an interest in advocacy and are reaching out to connect them to our new Client and Family Advocacy program.  We are using this client base to help advocate to our legislators and share their stories through different media and settings.

BAYADA Government Affairs Office Takes Ambassadors to Trenton, NJ

Submitted by Louise Lindenmeier, Director, NJ Government Affairs (GAO)

Advocacy with lawmakers is so important for our clients and families.  On March 22, Ambassador of the Year, Hudson County (HUD) Client Service Manager Ida Rodriquez, Perth Amboy (PER) Client Service Manager Julia Nelson, and Client Advocacy Manager Tara Montague accompanied me in Trenton where we met Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak and Senior Advisor to the Speaker Wayne Zitt. We discussed home health care and the need for higher reimbursement in order to pay higher wages for home health aides. As a result of the meeting, Assemblyman Karabinchak will co-sponsor A320 which sets a floor in managed care at the state’s fee for service rate. Senior Advisor Zitt will encourage the bill to be voted upon by the General Assembly. Both Ambassadors enjoyed the day in Trenton as they met many other legislators throughout the statehouse.

A Day in the Life of a Massachusetts Mom/Advocate

Submitted by Rick Hynick, Director, Client and Family Advocacy

On February 27, several BAYADA employees, home health care family members and others working toward getting a patient bill of rights passed, gathered at the state house in Boston to meet with legislators.  Lisa B. was en-route with her son, an adult home care client in his early 30s, and his son’s nurse.  Their goal for the day was to speak with different elected officials about the need for a rate increase for continuous skilled nursing services and to advocate for a patient bill of rights that is making its way through the legislative system toward becoming a law.  Just four miles from the state house, Lisa and the nurse saw that her son’s medical condition had changed and they quickly pulled their van over near the outskirts of a public park to help him.  He was struggling to breath due to a mucous plug.  In addition to this, he had lost control of his bowels.  As they pulled off the road, it happened to be near where an undercover police officer was working.  Startled by their presence, the officer approached them.  It took a bit, but Lisa and the nurse were able to clear the plug and get him back to a normal status.  They also changed his clothing and got everything back to normal.  The police officer was so motivated to help the family that he provided them with a police escort to the state house.  As a result of their dedication to the greater cause of helping people with special medical needs, they were still able to meet with senators and representatives and discuss the importance of home care nursing and the patient bill of rights from the perspective of the family.

BAYADA Sponsors Second Lobby Day in Massachusetts

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

The Government Affairs Office (GAO) organized a second lobby day for continuous skilled nursing providers and parents to discuss our Patient Bill of Rights.  With over 27 meetings scheduled, we focused on meeting with our legislators that sit on important committees and introduced our need to file a budget amendment to support the increased reimbursement rate needed to compete for a median of nurses.  The day was successful, as we lined up House and Senate budget amendment sponsors and additional co-sponsors for the bill.  As stated by the lobbyists from the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts, we “have set a solid foundation to build upon.” Next, we wait to see where the House will assign the bill and wait for a budget hearing.

Community Home Care Support Group Meeting A Success In Hazleton, PA

Submitted by Rick Hynick, Director, Client and Family Advocacy

Photo: Attendees of the support group meeting

On February 23, BAYADA sponsored a community client and family home care support group meeting at a hotel in West Hazleton, PA.  Parents, grandparents, home care staff and healthcare advocacy groups from different sectors of the community were all in attendance.  State Representative Tarah Toohil was the special guest speaker and was involved in an interactive discussion with everyone in attendance.   Families caring for loved ones with special medical needs had the opportunity to network and talk with other advocates and family members and learn of new ideas.  One of the main topics of discussion revolved around the need for more nurses in home health care.  The group is going to stay in contact through an email platform and share ideas, new events and information and reconvene in the spring at the next meeting.

Community Home Care Support Group Meeting A Success In Hazleton, PA

Submitted by Rick Hynick, Director, Client and Family Advocacy

On February 23, BAYADA sponsored a community client and family home care support group meeting at a hotel in West Hazleton, PA.  Parents, grandparents, home care staff and health care advocacy groups from different sectors of the community were all in attendance.  State Representative Tarah Toohil was the special guest speaker and was involved in an interactive discussion with everyone in attendance.   Families caring for loved ones with special medical needs had the opportunity to network and talk with other advocates and family members and learn of new ideas.  One of the main topics of discussion revolved around the need for more nurses in home health care.  The group is going to stay in contact through an email platform and share ideas, new events and information and reconvene in the spring at the next meeting.

""
Attendees of the support group meeting