NJ Client Advocates for Our Aides

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

On May 26, as part of the Home Care Association’s Advocacy Day, our client, Victor Muniz, spoke during a press conference held by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg. Victor, who receives personal care assistance through the Jersey City (JC) office, shared the importance of home health aides in his rehabilitation and his ability to live independently. In addition, William Chambers, father to Perth Amboy (PER) client Billy Chambers, spoke about how home health aides enable him to continue to care for his son at home, but there is a strong need for increases in reimbursement rates. He stressed that aides are simply not paid enough money for what they do.

Mr. Muniz was also interviewed by a reporter from NJ Spotlight about this issue.

Realizing There are Differences

Submitted by Rick Hynick, Director, Client and Family Advocacy

I recently met with a mother who has a teenage daughter suffering from a severe degenerative muscular condition. The mom wants people to realize that caregivers are extremely important to a person with special medical needs. She explained that the average person can use a bathroom in a minute or two. Even with a caregiver, it takes 15 to 20 minutes for her daughter to use the bathroom, with the maneuvering of her wheelchair in the tight layout of a bathroom and just trying to safely get on and off of the wheelchair. The mom asks that we all slow down and think about the importance of the many daily tasks that we all need to undertake and support caregivers in every way possible.

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!

Pennsylvania Office of Developmental Programs Restructures Rates

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

The Deputy Secretary of the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) Nancy Thaler released a statement that she would establish one statewide rate for services and that all rates would go up.  This is a welcomed move as it also supports our legislative priority of establishing one statewide rate and increasing the personal assistant services rate to $20.58.  We plan to ensure our legislative champions know about this move in our upcoming meetings.

In North Carolina, Timing Couldn’t be Better

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

Next week, more than 65 BAYADA employees and one client will be descending upon the state capitol advocating for an increase to the aide reimbursement rate under Medicaid. We seek to go from $13.88 to $17 per hour over two years ($15.50 in year one, and $17.00 in year two), which will allow us to hire and retain more quality aides. Our advocates are poised to share their stories on why investing in home health care is necessary and the right thing to do for their constituents. Also, we will be advocating to preserve the certificate of need (CON) process. Any erosion in CON will negatively impact our Medicare offices. Our timing couldn’t be better, as the Senate is finalizing their budget bill. Donning our BAYADA red, our staff will speak from the heart.

New Jersey Client Helps Advocate for Her Aide

Submitted by Tara Montague, Manager, Client and Family Advocacy, NJ

As part of BAYADA Home Health Care’s Advocacy Week, 23-year-old Dover, NJ (DOV) assistive care state programs client Adelina “Addy” Rivera wanted to do her part to fight for a pay increase for her Certified Home Health Aide Gloria Atehortua. Last Friday morning, along with DOV Director Gretchen Munnelly, Client Services Manager Yurani Zapata, and me, Addy visited with Senator Steve Oroho and Assemblyman Parker Space at their offices in Sparta. Her aide’s care is so important to Addy and many others that she wanted to tell her legislators personally how essential Gloria is in her life. She prepared a statement which she shared with the legislators:

“If I didn’t have help, I don’t want to think about what could possibly go wrong,” said Addy. “If I didn’t have my aide’s assistance, I would not be able to function.”

Senator Oroho was so moved by her message, he asked her to consider coming to Trenton to speak to his colleagues at the statehouse. Addy indicated that she would like to do whatever she can to help with the cause. In addition, Senator Oroho gave Addy a special pin with a flag and a cross. This had extra meaning for Addy who collects flags in honor of her father, who is a veteran.

BAYADA Direct Care Worker named 2017 Pennsylvania Department of Aging Direct Care Worker of the Year!

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

Each year the PA Department of Aging and the Pennsylvania Homecare Association (PHA) request nominations for the Direct Care Worker (DCW) of the Year.  The DCW is an individual who goes above and beyond in their work and provides essential services to older Pennsylvanians and disabled adults.

This year there were over 160 nominations. BAYADA nominated 21 aides from our offices.

The award was given at PHA’s Direct Care Worker Forum in Harrisburg. Each aide that was nominated was invited to attend. The day consisted of professional development, a motivational speaker and a DCW survey on the challenges of the profession.

Towards the end of the event PA Department of Aging Secretary named  BAYADA Philadelphia Corporation of Aging –West Home Health Aide Anne Pannone as the DCW of the year.

Anne will be recognized again at the PHA Annual Conference in the Poconos.

Congratulations to all the aides who were nominated.

Click here to read the BAYADA Blog article about Anne

Click here to see photos from the event

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.

NC: Bill Dropped Moves Us One Step Closer To an Increase

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

Last week, North Carolina Representatives Josh Dobson, Chris Malone, and Gregory Murphy introduced HB 593 – Increase Personal Care Services Rates.  This proposed bill would increase the Medicaid Personal Care Service (PCS) rate to $4.25 per unit ($17.00 per hour) effective January 2018.  The bill has been referred to the House Health Committee for consideration and debate.  While this is a first step of many, it is encouraging to see that our message is being heard.

This year our Legislative Day is even more critical.  Once again, we are collaborating with the Association for Home & Hospice Care (AHHC) to host the largest legislative day ever.  Mark your calendar and plan to attend the Legislative Day on May 17 in Raleigh.

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