2020 Legislative Priorities: An Exciting & Anticipatory Year for GAO States & the National Home Care Industry

2020 is gearing up to be a monumental year for BAYADA’s Government Affairs Office (GAO). GAO directors and Chief Government Affairs Officer Dave Totaro have worked diligently with BAYADA leadership to agree upon this year’s legislative priorities. Check out GAO’s state-by-state priorities below! To find out more about your state’s issues and how you can get involved, see the list of state GAO directors and associates within the article.

FEDERAL
Chief Government Affairs Officer Dave Totaro
Federal Affairs Associate Victoria DeLone

#1: Support PQHH and NAHC to pass the Home Health Payment Innovation Act

  • Eliminates behavioral assumptions to set reimbursement rates and limits changes in reimbursement to +/- 2% in any year
    • BAYADA impact: $12-15 million
    • Practice: Home Health

#2: Support the passage of the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act

  • Allow non-physician providers to certify a patient’s eligibility for coverage – including face to face requirements
    • BAYADA impact: TBD (awaiting score from CBO)
    • Practice: Home Health

#3: Introduce and pass the Home Care Access and Savings Act (H-CASA)

  • Modernizes the Medicaid program through quality, efficiency, and integrity improvements
    • BAYADA impact: Policy only
    • Practices: ACSP and SNU

NORTHEAST REGION
Area Director Louise Lindenmeier (NJ, RI, NY, MA)
Director Ashley Sadlier (RI, NY, MA)
Associate Marissa Fogal

NJ

#1: Secure increase for PCA to offset minimum wage increases in 2021 by $3 per hour

  • BAYADA impact: $7.2 million
    • Practice: ACSP

#2: Increase the state fee for service rate for RNs and LPNs by $10 per hour in Private Duty Nursing and set a minimum rate floor for managed Medicaid.

  • LPN increase of 26.3% from $38 per hour to $48. RN increase of 20% from $50 to $60.
    • BAYADA impact: $19.1 million
    • Practice: SNU

#3: Pass legislation to mandate commercial insurance to cover PDN

  • Impact: Potential savings of $50-70 million for state Medicaid dollars
    • Practice: SNU

NY

#1: Gain NYC Department of Education’s Request for Proposal to achieve status of “approved vendor” to provide school nursing services in the New York City boroughs

  • BAYADA impact: $429,000
    • Practice: SNU

RI

#1: Pass legislation to ensure clients turning 21 have continuity of care 

  • BAYADA impact: $1.1 Million
    • Practices: SNU and ACSP

#2: Defend Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for Medicaid Home Care/Hospice rates

  • Governor has proposed an additional 5.9% increase for skilled nursing and CNA services in the 2020-2021 budget, effective 7/1/2020
    • This proposal must still go through the legislative decision-making process, with the final budget set to be signed by the end of June 2020. GAO will continue to monitor its progress and advocate for this increase
    • CNA Current Average: $25.51 à $27.02 (+$1.51)
    • LPN Current Average: $47.79 à $50.61 (+$2.82)
    • RN Current Average: $54.20 à $57.40 (+$3.20)
    • BAYADA impact: $219,791
    • Practices: SNU and ACSP

#3: Secure an increase for Medicaid FFS reimbursement rates

  • 16.3% increase from $25.52 to $29.67
    • BAYADA impact: $431,912
    • Practices: SNU and ACSP

#4: Secure a rate floor for Managed Medicaid rates so they cannot be below the set Medicaid FFS rates

  • BAYADA impact: $163,000
    • Practices: SNU and ACSP

MID-ATLANTIC REGION
Area Director Laura Ness (PA, DE, MD, IN)
Associate Director Rob Lattin (DE, MD, IN)
Senior Associate Maggie Tracy

DE

#1: Secure an increase for PDN LPN and RN reimbursement rates

  • 21% increase from $46.14 to $56.01 for LPNs, and 21% increase from $51.50 to $62.51 for RNs
    • BAYADA impact: $5.3 million
    • Practice: SNU

MD

  • Protect the yearly rate increase for LPNs providing private duty nursing.
  • BAYADA impact: Unknown
  • Practice: SNU

PA

#1: Secure an increase for Personal Assistance Services under Community Health Choices

  • 8% increase (dollar amount depends on MCO)
    • 2019 goal was a 10% increase, and a 2% increase was secured. Thus, the 2020 goal is to obtain the remaining 8%
    • BAYADA impact: $3.2 million
    • Practice: ACSP

#2:  Pass legislation to allow Deemed Eligibility for home care

  • BAYADA impact: Unknown
    • Practices: ACSP and AN

#3:  Eliminate the requirement for nurses to call home health aides every two weeks

  • BAYADA impact: Unknown
    • Practice: PED

SOUTHEAST REGION
Area Director Lee Dobson (NC, SC, GA, MO)
Director Melissa Allman (GA, SC, MO)
Senior Associate Lindsey Wright

GA

#1: Secure a 6% increase for all Medicaid nursing services

  • BAYADA impact: $426,862
    • Practice: SNU

NC

#1: Secure an increase for nursing under Medicaid’s PDN Program–

  • 13.6% increase from $39.60 to $45
    • BAYADA impact $8.4 million
    • Practice: SNU

#2: Secure an increase for aide wages under Personal Care Services, Community Alternatives Program, and CAP for Children

  • 18.6% increase from $15.60 to $18.50
    • BAYADA impact: $1.89 million
    • Practice: ACSP

SC

#1: Secure a 10% PDN rate increase, effective July 1, 2020

  • The state recommended a 15% increase effective July 1, 2020. After further advocacy efforts focused on the urgent need for an immediate increase, DHHS issued the initial 5% increase, effective January 1, 2020. DHHS is committed to including the remaining 10% to be effective July 1, 2020. If the provision is passed into law as planned, then PDN services will see a total 15% increase from 2019 levels (5% increase effective January 1, 2020, and an additional 10% targeted for July 1, 2020).
    • BAYADA impact: $690,000
    • Practice: Skilled Nursing

#2: Secure 24% for RN and 35% for LPN increase for Medicaid nursing waivers

  • BAYADA impact $1.16 million
    • Practice: Skilled Nursing

#3: Secure a 10% increase for Personal Care Waivers

  • BAYADA impact: $158,000
    • Practice: ACSP

GRASSROOTS ADVOCACY & PUBLIC AFFAIRS
Grassroots Advocacy Senior Manager Mike Sokoloski
Public Affairs Senior Manager Alisa Fox

Grassroots Advocacy: In 2020, the GAO Grassroots Advocacy team is seeking to further enhance the Ambassador program by creating a new “Senior Ambassador” role in order to have seasoned advocates guide and mentor newer advocates. Senior Ambassadors will also be able to attend special and strategic events in order to hone their skills and to advise GAO on issues their office(s) see. If you would like to learn more about the Ambassador and/or the Senior Ambassador program, or how you can get involved in advocacy, contact the Grassroots Advocacy team at msokoloski@bayada.com.

Public Affairs: Following the success seen in 2019, BAYADA has expanded its public affairs program to open up resources for smaller states that may benefit from a public affairs campaign. In first quarter, BAYADA has employed three campaigns thus far: A campaign to increase PDN and PCA rates in New Jersey, a campaign to further increase PDN rates in South Carolina, and a campaign to create regulations in Rhode Island to ensure that medically-complex children aging out of the pediatrics program can continue to seamlessly access care. Other states that may soon be seeing public affairs campaigns are: Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, and Pennsylvania.

BAYADA Officially Launches Government Affairs Office Overseeing New York and Rhode Island

The Government Affairs Office (GAO) is excited to announce its expansion into New York and Rhode Island! Expansion into both states means that GAO can begin directly lobbying state lawmakers for better home care policies and reimbursement rates, and can begin to directly involve New York and Rhode Island staff, clients, and families in advocacy efforts.

What is GAO’s mission?

  • The BAYADA Government Affairs Office (GAO) will represent the Company to all levels of local, state and federal government entities, regulatory agencies and community organizations (What we do)
  • Our mission is to act as a voice for our clients, their families and our employees through education, advocacy, service and research (What makes us different)
  • This will result in legislation, regulation, and policies which are supportive of home care services that provide the highest quality of care and will enable patients to remain in their homes (What benefits our clients receive)

What are GAO’s goals?

  • Build awareness
  • Secure adequate resources
  • Foster policies supportive of home health care
  • Engage staff and clients in advocacy on behalf of BAYADA staff and clients

How does GAO accomplish its mission and goals?

GAO operates through a three-pronged approach:

  • Direct Lobbying: Accomplished mainly through the GAO director as determined by BAYADA leadership in the state
  • Grassroots Advocacy: GAO engages employees, clients, and families through our Hearts for Home Care program and our Ambassador program, and through our PACs. Like our Hearts for Home Care Facebook page to be updated on our efforts and relevant home care news.
  • Supporting our Champions: BAYADA supports state and federal legislators that support home care. Legislators that support home care understand our industry’s issues and our staff and clients’ needs. BAYADA supports our champions largely through our state and federal Political Action Committees (PACs). Rhode Island and New York do not yet have PACs, but stay tuned! Full-time, exempt and salaried office employees are able to support our federal legislators by joining BAYADA’s federal PAC.

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.

Client and Family Advocacy Update

Submitted By Rick Hynick, Director, Government Affairs, Client and Family Advocacy

The Client and Family Advocacy program has some exciting updates that are underway.  When you have a moment, visit our advocacy website at Heartsforhomecare.com and see first-hand about many of the ideas we are working on.  Once you get to the site, click on Families and the Community.  Here you will find many exciting ways to be part of our advocacy program.  Read of a heart-touching story of a Mom who is now involved with advocacy to help her daughter and others like her.  Find an opportunity to share your story and learn of the many ways you could participate in advocacy as well as staying connected with news and resources and a blog.

We are also working on the development of a Grassroots Advocacy plan for our clients and families and staff.  Giving our valued clients and staff a voice and involvement in advocacy activities such as meeting with a legislator or writing a letter or attending a community event as part of a larger movement could strengthen our voice in home care and help us to obtain better resources so we can have a positive impact and give our clients the highest quality of care.  We are also working side by side with Mike Sokoloski, our Manager of Grassroots Advocacy to move forward with a plan than combines advocacy efforts of employees and clients together to work toward a personal assistance OLTL rate increase.

Looking forward to hearing your ideas.  Please email me at rhynick@bayada.com.

 

Government Affairs Delaware Office Tour

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

All of our Delaware service offices kindly opened their doors to Chief Government Affairs Officer Dave Totaro, Manager of Grassroots Advocacy Mike Sokoloski, and me this week.  The Government Affairs Office (GAO) team was able to share current information about our state and federal advocacy efforts.  We had good conversations with office teams about what BAYADA’s official positions are and how office and field employees are getting more involved in advocacy for our clients.  Thank you all for such warm receptions!

Continuing to Advocate for our Clients

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.

 

Take Advantage of Summer Time in Delaware

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

Summer is the time to build coalitions, work behind the scenes and prepare for the future.  I am finalizing research and developing deeper relationships with key partners to set BAYADA up for future successes.  In the Government Affairs Office (GAO) generally, we are building plans to improve grassroots advocacy and make the most of the time you all volunteer.

 

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 Hosts First PA Virtual Lobby Day April 26th-28th

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

As you know, April 25th is Lobby Day in Harrisburg with the Pennsylvania Homecare Association.

To magnify our impact, we are asking that all staff, especially those unable to be in Harrisburg in person contact their State Representative and State Senator between April 26th and April 28th and ask them to support our issues.

Our message is simple.

“On Tuesday, April 25th my colleagues came to Harrisburg to discuss a variety of issues impacting home care. Home care is a 24/7 job and I was unable to join my colleagues because I was assisting Pennsylvanians receive the quality, cost-effective home care they need.”

We have created an easy template with additional information for you to follow. Please take two minutes to call or email your legislators to urge them to support BAYADA and PHA’s advocacy efforts on behalf of our clients and the staff who care for them.

Look for the email from GAO on April 26th.

PA Ambassador Named 2017 BAYADA Hearts for Home Care Ambassador Rookie of the Year

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.