Equalizing Access Legislation Approved in PA House Health Committee

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

On November 21, the House Health Committee met and unanimously voted to approve HB 1829. HB 1829 allows individuals to be presumed eligible for home health care. This practice is currently allowed for nursing homes but is not extended to home care. Because of this, Pennsylvanians often go without the help they need or are unnecessarily placed in a nursing home. The legislation approved included two amendments, which changes the name “presumptive eligibility” to “deemed eligibility”. It also extends this process to allow adult day centers to do presumptive eligibility as well. We are very pleased with this outcome. Next the bill will go to the House Appropriations Committee. The Government Affairs Office (GAO) is working to set up meetings with Appropriations Committee members to ask them to support this legislation.

Government Affairs Office Hits the Road in North Carolina

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

Often we talk about sharing our message, making our point, and communicating our value proposition.  Those are things we, in the Government Affairs Office (GAO), must do as we seek support for our issues with lawmakers.  One such conversation was had with Representative Nelson Dollar earlier last week, where Chief Government Affairs Officer Dave Totaro and I thanked him for his past support on the rate increases and continued our conversation around our priorities for the year to come.

If we are to continue to be successful in building a strong advocacy base, it is not enough to build relationships with lawmakers.  We must also get to know our internal BAYADA customers–our staff and clients.  As such, we visited six home health offices on the I-85 corridor.  It was great to be able to provide a legislative update, share advocacy information, and solicit feedback.  It helps ground our efforts and put things into perspective.

Special thanks to Division Director Richard Hopson, Area Director Shad Morgheim, and the office directors for allowing us to visit. We really enjoyed visiting with staff at CV, CHF, GAV, CAV, SC, DAV, RV, and DRF.

Photo:  Area Director Lee Dobson, Rep. Nelson Dollar, and Chief Government Affairs Officer Dave Totaro
Photo: Area Director Lee Dobson, Rep. Nelson Dollar, and Chief Government Affairs Officer Dave Totaro

Government Affairs Office Presents at NJ Statewide Meeting of Councils

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

On November 18, I had the opportunity to present at the statewide meeting of the Regional Family Support Planning Councils on The State of Home Supports and Services for the Medically Fragile Population in NJ.  The members of the 10 regional councils monitor and evaluate family support programs, provide information to policymakers, and advocate to local officials and state legislators about the needs of those who support a family member with a developmental/intellectual disability at home.  As part of the day’s program, we also had the chance to meet a representative of Governor-elect Phil Murphy’s campaign who emphasized the new administration’s desire to learn more about the disability community and its needs.

 

PA Client Visit to Discuss BAYADA’s Advocacy Program

Submitted by Rick Hynick, Director, Client and Family Advocacy (GAO)

 On Friday, October 20, Chief Government Affairs Officer Dave Totaro and I met with adult Home Health Aide client, William Bezdziecki at his home near Wilkes Barre to discuss the BAYADA Hearts for Home Care program and different client advocacy opportunities.  Also, present at the meeting were William’s parents, Jack and Mary Lou Bezdziecki, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (WBS) Clinical Manager Susan Youells, WBS CSM Kristie Spinello and Certified Nursing Assistant Gerald Stevenson.

PA Long-Term Care Council Workforce Committee Meets to Discuss Data Needs

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

Last week, the Long-Term Care Council met in Harrisburg along with the various sub-committees.  The Workforce Committee continued the discussion regarding how we continue to care the aging Pennsylvanians.  It was clear that direct care workers are the foundation of caring for older Pennsylvanians.  There was also the recognition that more direct care workers will be needed and recruited for the role.  The majority of our time was spent discussing the data needed to make the case for higher pay, better support, and professionalizing the profession.  The Government Affairs Office (GAO) is looking forward to continuing our work with the group.

Sharing Education with Legislators Prepares them for Session in Maryland

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

 This week, Harford County Visits (HFV) Marketing Manager Nicole Matricciani and I met with Delegate Andrew Cassilly (R-35B), who represents many of our clients and employees in the county.  I also met with Delegate Antonio Hayes (D-40) who is a member of the House Health & Government Operations Committee and represents parts of Western Baltimore City.  The Government Affairs Office (GAO) is building these important relationships to help our legislators understand the complex and important work we do in their communities, and the benefit home health care brings to the state.

Photo: Delegate Antonio Hayes and Shannon Gahs
Photo: Delegate Antonio Hayes and Shannon Gahs

Delaware Department of Health and Social Services Continues Toward Development of Total Cost of Care Model

Submitted by Shannon Gahs, Director, DE Government Affairs (GAO)

Secretary Kara Odom Walker held a public hearing on how the state can focus on the Total Cost of Care this week.  Thought leaders from across the country, and representatives from states that have undertaken these sorts of efforts, already gave presentations and shared lessons.  Secretary Odom Walker is intent on building a data-driven system based on nationwide best practices.  As this effort moves forward, the Government Affairs Office (GAO) will work with our division directors and state government leaders to ensure that the value and importance of home health care in this effort is recognized.

 

Building the Client & Family Advocacy Program

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.

NJ Personal Care Assistant Floor Bill Finally Signed into Law!

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

Governor Chris Christie, signed into law A320/S1080, which sets the Medicaid managed care rate at no lower than the state’s fee for service rate for personal care services.  The Governor had conditionally vetoed the original bill in July, adding stipulations in regards to funding, wage mandates, and an effective date.  With the new stipulations as law, the Government Affairs Office (GAO) will be working with our lobbyist and bill sponsors to introduce a new bill to restructure the governor’s changes with new language, which we believe will be better for the industry and our home health aides.