Top Participating Divisions with Recent Federal Action Alerts

BAYADA’s Government Affairs Office (GAO) offers employees and clients many ways to get involved in advocacy through our Hearts for Home Care program. One of the very easiest ways to get involved with advocacy right from your cell phone or desk is by taking action on an Action Alert. Generally, GAO will send out an action alert email to all employees, or employees in a certain state, when a piece of legislation requires support or opposition from our elected officials. Action alerts take two minutes to complete and most of the work is done for you—All you need to do is click a couple of buttons in order to send a pre-written email to your legislators to encourage their action!

During the previous quarter, GAO sent out two federal action alerts to all BAYADA office staff. The first alert was sent on February 14 and requested that employees take action to urge their officials to support a bill to counteract certain sections of the Patient Driven Groupings Model (PDGM) that would be harmful to our Home Health staff and clients. The second alert was sent on February 27, and asked that employees urge their federal legislators to support action to revise an outdated Medicare requirement to allow non-physician practitioners (NPPs), such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, to certify a patient’s eligibility for coverage of home health services. You can still take action on this alert here.

See the results of both action alerts below. Congratulations to the Firewheel and Flame Lily divisions, which had the most participation in these two alerts! We are proud of your commitment to advocacy and your dedication to speaking to our many clients that do not have the voice to speak for themselves!

Thank you to the many employees that took action and encouraged their peers to do so as well. As you can see from the below charts, both alerts—which both impact our Home Health employees and clients the most—continue to see relatively low participation. It’s important that we share our voices wherever possible, and particularly for Action Alerts that are easy to complete. We are hoping that all BAYADA employees recommit to advocacy. During the next federal action alert we hope to see 50% or more office staff participation.

GAO Jetsetters: Making the Rounds in Washington, D.C., Arizona, and Colorado

Left: GAO Ambassadors Anthony D’Alonzo and David Mead, and GAO Grassroots Senior Manager Mike Sokoloski in front of the US Capitol
Right Top: Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) poses with GAO Senior Associate Lindsey Wright and Chief Government Affairs Officer Dave Totaro
Right Bottom: Advocates, including GAO Director Shannon Gahs (second from right), join in NAHC’s March on Washington

BAYADA’s Government Affairs Office (GAO) staff members often say, “Advocacy never sleeps.” For the GAO federal affairs team—Government Affairs Officer Dave Totaro and Senior Associate Lindsey Wright—we can also say “Advocacy never stays put.” Over the past quarter, GAO has traveled to Washington, D.C. several times, as well as to Massachusetts, Florida, Indiana, Arizona, and Colorado—among other places.

Most often, GAO travels specifically to meet with legislators in D.C. and around the country to educate them about home care and the benefit it has in keeping millions of America’s seniors and individuals with disabilities independent and in their communities. Most recently, the federal affairs team has also taken to visiting BAYADA’s Home Health service offices to get employees involved in advocacy.

In late February, Dave and Lindsey traveled to D.C.’s Capitol Hill to meet with 11 key congressional members and their staff. On April 2, they traveled back to the Capitol along with two Hearts for Home Care Ambassadors—Anthony D’Alonzo (MHH) and David Mead (NLP)—and other GAO staff—to participate in the National Association for Home Care and Hospice’s (NAHC) annual March on Washington. This year, marchers were asked to educate legislators on two important bills: The Patient Driven Groupings Model bill, which if passed will eliminate reimbursement cuts based on behavioral assumptions, and the Home Health Improvement Planning Act, which if passed will allow non-physician practitioners to sign off on care plans. The visits were successful and resulted in additional cosponsors for both bills.  

GAO’s Dave Totaro and Lindsey Wright visited four Home Health service offices in Arizona and Colorado. Clockwise from top left: GAO and HH office staff in the SVV, FCV, GLF/VGL, and DNF/DNV offices.

The two-person federal affairs team can only make so much headway alone. GAO relies on advocates like you to make sure that all legislators hear our messages loud and clear. Dave and Lindsey have begun traveling to Home Health service offices around the country to tell employees what they can do to get themselves and their clients involved in advocacy, and the importance of doing so.

“As much as I travel to spread our message to our country’s decision makers, it’s important that I also use my time to get our staff involved. Home Health employees and clients are affected by what our legislators and regulators in D.C. make decisions on every day. The more our people mobilize and advocate, the more those decision makers will see how their choices affect real people’s lives,” said Dave Totaro.

During their trip to four Home Health service offices across Arizona and Colorado, Dave and Lindsey focused on Medicare policies, current bills, and how employees can get involved to make a difference. They also listened to each office’s unique challenges in delivering care to clients, and how policy changes could alleviate some of those issues. Thank you to the many BAYADA service offices that welcomed GAO with open arms and open minds, as well as to the employees who signed up to become Ambassadors. To learn about ways you, your staff, and your clients can advocate, contact Lindsey Wright at lwright@bayada.com. We look forward to working with you!

FED: Home Health to See Rate Decrease in January 2020. What Can You Do?

CMS recently finalized calendar year 2019 and 2020 payment changes for home health agencies. The new payment model, also known as the Patient Driven Groupings Model (PDGM), was finalized on October 31, 2018. There is some good news: We will see Medicare payments increase by 2.2%–or $420 million–based on finalized policies this year. The reimbursement rate increase is the first the home health industry has received in a decade. Unfortunately, the final rule addresses that home health will see a decrease of payments by 6.42% based on the use of “behavioral assumptions” which will take effect January 2020.

Luckily Congress is working with the industry and has introduced corrective legislation into the House and Senate that counteracts this measure. Several of our legislative champions, including Vern Buchanan (R-FL), sponsored one of the three bills introduced, each of which would serve to counteract the “behavioral assumptions” by requiring Medicare to implement adjustments to reimbursement rates only after improper behavioral actions by home health agencies are actually observed affecting Medicate spending rather than assuming those improper activities will occur. While this is a great first step, we need more legislative support to ensure that one of these bills crosses the finish line.

How can you help? The Government Affairs Office (GAO) has been working diligently to meet with key legislators and introduce them to our issues and those of our staff and clients, but we can’t do it alone. BAYADA has been asked to take the lead of home visits for our industry and we need office staff to help us communicate the importance of home care and proper Medicare reimbursement for our services.

To join in our advocacy efforts, please consider meeting with your federal Congressman or Senator through an office visit or home visit. Contact GAO Federal Associate Lindsey Wright today to learn more and to coordinate. The Federal Affairs team has a busy first month of the year and will be making visits to Home Health offices the year to hear what is most important in your office and how we can help.

Upcoming Events

Date Event Location
January 17 Home Health Office Visits CO
January 21-23 Home Health Office Visits AZ
January 24 NHPCO/HAN Board Meeting Phoenix, AZ
January 27-29 Home Care 100 Phoenix, AZ
January 30 HCAOA Board Meeting Tucson, AZ
February 7 PMHC Board Meeting Washington D.C.

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

The Power of the Hashtag

Submitted by Jake Verdi, Intern, Government Affairs (GAO)

Social Media has become many Americans go-to platform to speak about their beliefs and ideas, especially about politics in America. It gives people the ability to voice their opinions.  The ability for citizens to give their input about legislation that affects them and millions of others is the foundation of democracy.

Recently, a small group of Republican U.S. Senators, reportedly only 12 people, have been drafting a bill in secret that has been rumored to cut 25% of Medicaid funding.  They will press for a vote without a public hearing. This cut would be detrimental to millions of low-income and disabled people who rely on Medicaid to receive necessary medical care.

In the United States, citizens of each state vote for two U.S. Senators to represent them and their interests in the federal government. The idea that 12 people have silenced the other 88 elected senators on the matter gives the American people much less representation on an issue that is key to our ideas of government and society.  Not only are they not including the other elected Senators of the United States, but due to the secrecy, no one can at this time confirm whether they are actually representing the ideas of the people who actually put them into office.

It has become time to fight back, and social media can play a key part in the strategy. This lack of a hearing is a pressing issue among all Americans today, and it has caused multiple movements to be created on social media. One of the movements that has been used by many, including senators, is the hashtag campaign, #nohearingnovote. As it states, the movement and those supporting it call for there to be a hearing for the bill so that everyone is able to give their thoughts before a full vote occurs, through the representatives that they elect. Supporting the movement can be as easy as sending a tweet with the “#nohearingnovote” in the message.

Through using social media, our go-to platform to discuss so many topics, we can create as much buzz as possible to stop this bill until a hearing can be held and the voices of all Americans can be represented. Support the movement! #nohearingnovote

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

Awards Weekend PAC Push Sees Major Success

Submitted by Alisa Borovik, Senior Associate (GAO)

During every Awards Weekend since 2012, our Government Affairs Office (GAO) has manned a Political Action Committee (PAC) table to attract new members to join BAYADA’s PACs. Each year, GAO recruits new members, and this Awards Weekend’s PAC table saw record-breaking numbers!

The goal was to bring in a combined total of 80 new PAC members, and increased contributions from current members. The booth actually brought in over 160 new sign-ups and increasers—more than doubling our goal!

The new sign-ups and increasers bring in a combined yearly total of over $35,000 to the BAYADA PACs.

GAO extends a deep and heartfelt thank you to all of those who signed up to contribute at this year’s PAC table. Your contributions go toward legislative and policy efforts that ensure our clients can continue to have a safe home life with comfort, independence, and dignity.

BAYADA currently has five PACs, one for federal-level lobbying, and one each for Delaware, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. PAC contributions open doors for GAO staff, office and field employees, and families and clients to develop relationships with key lawmakers in BAYADA PAC states and in Washington, DC. All PAC dollars are used to support legislators who understand and support the home health care industry and to increase GAO’s access to legislators to educate them about issues in the home health care industry.

This huge success could not have been possible without the help of all of the BAYADA employees who volunteered at the PAC table. These individuals energized attendees by drawing attention to the table, answering potential new contributors’ questions, and advertising the importance of PACs on BAYADA’s lobbying efforts.

PAC members contribute a small portion of their paycheck towards a PAC or multiple PACs of their choosing. For more information on PACs or to sign up to contribute to the PAC, please contact advocacy@bayada.com.

You can also access the PAC enrollment form here. >>

 

Photo: Grassroots Advocacy Manager Mike Sokoloski answers a potential new PAC member's questions as a new sign-up spins the prize wheel
Photo: Grassroots Advocacy Manager Mike Sokoloski answers a potential new PAC member’s questions as a new sign-up spins the prize wheel

Photo: GAO Client and Family Advocacy Manager Tara Montague talks to a potential new PAC member while GAO Senior Associate Alisa Borovik and Grassroots Advocacy Manager Mike Sokoloski man the table.
Photo: GAO Client and Family Advocacy Manager Tara Montague talks to a potential new PAC member while GAO Senior Associate Alisa Borovik and Grassroots Advocacy Manager Mike Sokoloski man the table.

Protect Home Care

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

 

 

 

 

 

Special thanks to the 266 BAYADA office staff who made their voices heard. We asked you to write your congressional representatives urging them to support community and home-based care and oppose any changes that would hurt seniors and Medicaid. Utilizing our Hearts for Home Care Advocacy Center, BAYADA staff from across the country sent 813 letters to Congress. Our efforts helped stop the vote, whereby protecting seniors and Medicaid from cuts.

Ali Knott Named National Hearts for Home Care Ambassador of the Year

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

Delaware Pediatric North (DPN) Director Ali Knott last week was named the 2016 Government Affairs Office (GAO) Hearts for Home Care National Ambassador of the Year!

GAO had the distinct honor of recognizing Ali and four other passionate Ambassadors from our largest-footprint states—Delaware/Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania—during our annual Hearts for Home Care Ambassador of the Year awards celebration.

Over the last year, these Ambassadors of the Year connected with, and actively shared, BAYADA’s mission with legislators on behalf of our clients and caregivers.

Ali received the National award after being named the Delaware/Maryland Ambassador of the Year. Since becoming an Ambassador, she has been a consistent supporter and advocate in Delaware public life. In the fall, she and her son, Christopher, met with Senator (now Lt. Governor) Bethany Hall-Long and Senator Nicole Poore where they both made a strong impression on both legislators.

New Jersey Ambassador of the Year Ida Rodriguez, client services manager of Hudson County (HUD) assistive care state programs office, developed and strengthened a relationship with Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez, which included a home visit with a HUD client. As a result, Assemblywoman Jimenez signed on as a co-sponsor to a vital piece of legislation that BAYADA supports – A320.

Melissa Zuzolo, director of Conover (CON) assistive care state programs and North Carolina Ambassador of the Year coordinated a home visit, served on the board of the BAYADA NC political action committee and represented BAYADA on the Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee.

Pennsylvania Ambassador of the Year Mike Sokoloski was named state Ambassador for the final time. During 2016 he served as community liaison in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (WBS) assistive care state programs office. Since then, Mike has transitioned his passion for advocacy into a new position within GAO as the new Grassroots Manager. While serving as an Ambassador in 2016, Mike served as a board member of the BAYADA PA political action committee, organized four legislative round tables, and was appointed by Governor Tom Wolf as the sole home care representative to the Governor’s Long-Term Care Council.

""
U.S. Senator Tom Carper with the 2016 Hearts for Home Care Ambassadors of the Year: Melissa Zuzolo (North Carolina), Ali Knott (Delaware/Maryland and National), Ida Rodriguez (New Jersey); Trisha Lasher (Rookie); and Mike Sokoloski (Pennsylvania)

Trisha Lasher, a nurse in the Berks County Visits (BRK) office was named National Rookie Ambassador of the Year. Trisha has the distinction of being our first field employee to serve as an Ambassador. She built a relationship with Representative Jim Cox that was instrumental in helping a client who had been hitting roadblocks for five years to finally get a chair glide installed in her home.

Honorees traveled to Washington, DC to celebrate their achievements. They enjoyed a private festive reception before heading to dinner and the awards presentation at Charlie Palmer Steak. 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.

Thank you to Ali, Ida, Melissa, Mike and Trisha, the GAO team, and to all of our 192 Hearts for Home Care Ambassadors for being the unified voice of our clients who can’t always speak up for themselves. It is with your support, and the support of our division directors and directors, that we will continue to make strides toward achieving our BAYADA vision of helping millions of people experience a better quality of life in the comfort of their own homes. After all, as our Hearts for Home Care Ambassadors of the Year reminded us time and time again, advocacy is The BAYADA Way.

Hearts for Home Care State Ambassadors of the Year named, to be honored in Washington, DC

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

Over the past few weeks, BAYADA’s Government Affairs Office (GAO) has announced the Hearts for Home Care Ambassador of the Year finalists for each state. It is with great pleasure that we now congratulate the Hearts for Home Care State Ambassador of the Year winners:

Delaware and Maryland: Ali Knott, director, Delaware Pediatric North (DPN) office

New Jersey: Ida Rodriguez, client services manager, Hudson County (HUD) assistive care state programs office

North Carolina: Melissa Zuzolo, director, Conover (CON) assistive care state programs office

Pennsylvania: Mike Sokoloski, community liaison, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (WBS) assistive care state programs office

We also congratulate our national Rookie Ambassador of the Year Trisha Lasher, a nurse in the Berks County Visits (BRK) office.

Each of these individuals has shown an outstanding commitment to advocacy on behalf of our clients and fellow employees, which directly benefits the entire company. For example, in 3Q’16, 24% of all of the growth in the company’s revenue came from reimbursement rate increases generated by GAO over the previous year. Without the support of these Ambassadors, it would be very difficult to attain the achievements that generated such remarkable growth throughout our company and we are proud to honor these valued advocates as our 2016 Hearts for Home Care State Ambassadors of the Year.

On March 15, these awardees and their guests will spend time with GAO leadership in Washington DC, enjoying a dinner in their honor and discussing their advocacy efforts. At that dinner, they will officially receive their respective Ambassador of the Year Awards, and one of the four state Ambassadors will receive the prestigious Hearts for Home Care National Ambassador of the Year recognition. The trip also includes an overnight stay at the Marriott Marquis and the opportunity to take in the sights of Washington on a private guided tour.

 The Hearts for Home Care Ambassador Program

 Since 2011, the Ambassador program has promoted advocacy by calling on staff to take leadership roles within their offices as Ambassadors. The Ambassador’s role is to act as a liaison for GAO in communicating the importance of our advocacy initiatives to their colleagues and spearheading visits with legislators at clients’ homes, in legislators’ district offices, and with staff at our support and service offices.

Our Hearts for Home Care Ambassadors of the Year have gone well above and beyond the ambassador call of duty.

In Delaware, Ali and her son, Christopher, attended a meet-and-greet with Senator (now Lt. Governor) Bethany Hall-Long and Senator Nicole Poore where they made a strong impression on the legislators as Ali shared the challenges of the disability community.

In New Jersey, Ida developed and strengthened a relationship with Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez, which included a home visit with a HUD client. As a result, Assemblywoman Jimenez signed on as a co-sponsor to a vital piece of legislation that BAYADA supports – A320.

In North Carolina, in addition to coordinating a home visit, Melissa served on the board of the BAYADA NC political action committee and represented BAYADA on the Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee.

In Pennsylvania, in addition to serving as a board member of the BAYADA PA political action committee, Mike organized four legislative round tables in 2016 and was appointed by then-Governor Tom Wolf as the sole home care representative to the Governor’s Long-Term Care Council.

Also in Pennsylvania, our Rookie Trisha has the distinction of being our first field employee to serve as an Ambassador. She built a relationship with Representative Jim Cox that was instrumental in helping a client who had been hitting roadblocks for five years to finally get a chair glide installed in her home.

We appreciate all 192 Hearts for Home Care Ambassadors who advocate for our clients and colleagues while still performing their full-time job responsibilities. We also thank the division directors and directors who either serve as Ambassadors or support the Ambassadors in their areas. Everyone’s volunteer advocacy efforts truly embody living The BAYADA Way.

Stay tuned for the announcement of our BAYADA Hearts for Home Care Ambassador of the Year!