Aides Cried Tears of Joy for Much-deserved Raises throughout North Carolina’s Assistive Care State Programs Offices

Submitted by Lee Dobson, Area Director, NC Government Affairs (GAO) and Shannon McCarson, Regional Director, Dogwood Group (DOG)

We worked together and made it possible. After many years of advocating for higher reimbursement rates within the state Medicaid programs, we finally received an increase in the hourly rate for personal care services (PCS). This achievement was made possible through the persistent advocacy efforts of our employees, clients, families, and government affairs team. Our Hearts for Home Care Advocates participated in email campaigns, home visits, legislative roundtables, home care lobby days in Raleigh, and professional lobbying efforts.

As a result of working together, this week assistive care state programs directors throughout the state were thrilled to pass along an increase to our deserving CNAs and HHAs who care for our Medicaid clients and have stuck with us through thick and thin.

Directors have been personally speaking to staff to share the great news. “One by one, as I spoke to our aides, I heard the same thing – gratitude, appreciation, tears of joy, and, yes relief, too,” said Mimosa (MIM) Division Director Joe Seidel. “The low Medicaid reimbursement rate made it impossible to pay more. I am glad to do it now.” This rate increase is a good place to start, and more needs to be done.

Let’s keep the momentum going by joining to be a Hearts for Home Care Advocate. We believe our aides deserve even more for the important work they do in keeping our clients safe at home. If you are not already part of our advocacy group, join today at heartsforhomecare.com to receive alerts that could influence future efforts to increase pay rates.

 

Meeting a Constituent was a Treat for NC Representative John Fraley

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

On August 16, Representative John Fraley visited with staff from our Lake Norman adult office before heading to meet with his constituent, our client, Mr. Bachner.  Associate Lauren Keys, the Hearts for Home Care Ambassador who organized the home visits, commented “Rep. Fraley came prepared with good questions about home care and Medicaid reform.  While he doesn’t sit on a health committee, he wanted to learn about our issues.”  Clinical Manager Mary Hope Milligan and Client Services Manager Lucas Reives both described our recruiting challenges.

Mr. Bachner, a 90-year old WWII, Korean, and Vietnam vet, was a delight.  He shared many stories of his life, his children, and his service to our country.  It was especially heartwarming to hear how he met his wife, Cora, and after a week proposed marriage – a marriage that lasted 60-year.

Photo (left to right): Lauren Keys, Mr. Bachner, Rep. Fraley, and Tim Bachner

While Mr. Bachner is satisfied with his Veterans Administration (VA) benefits, we took this opportunity to share with Rep. Fraley the disparity between VA and Medicaid and how difficult it is to staff under Medicaid because the rates are so low.  As a retired businessman, Rep. Fraley understood and said, “Thank you for opportunity to meet with BAYADA staff and Mr. Bachner.  This was a good learning experience for me, as well as, a treat!“  As our meeting concluded, he commented that all he needed to remember was that we’re looking to get to $17.00 per hour next session.

Photo 2: Rep. Fraley with BAYADA staff

Whirlwind Tour Through the Carolinas

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

Last week, Chief Government Affairs Officer Dave Totaro and I started our three-day trip across the Carolinas in Columbia with a productive meeting on rates with Bryan Kost, Chief Legislative Liaison SC Department of Health & Humans Services.  We are looking for support for a rate increase for next session.  Further, as a way to connect with staff on issues and share our advocacy message, we visited our offices in Columbia, Charleston, Southport, and Fayetteville.  These round table discussions help us better understand care delivery challenges and identify ways we can help.  Lastly, we were thrilled to have met Brock, an adorable 18 month-old boy, and his family near Charleston.  After 9 months in the hospital, he was ready to come home with the support of nursing.  Home visits remind us why we go to work every day and how important it is for each of us to advocate for quality home health care.

Toms River NJ Pediatrics Ambassador Arranges Her First Home Visit

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

As a new Hearts for Home Care Ambassador, Toms River Pediatrics (TRP) Client Services Manager Allison Nulton has been enthusiastically educating legislators on matters relating to her clients.  Earlier this summer, Allison took the initiative and invited state legislator Senator Samuel Thompson to a home visit for one of her clients.  So, on July 26, Allison, TRP Clinical Associate Suzanne McCuen, and the clients’ mom Jocelyn took turns explaining to Senator Thompson about the needs of the children and how important home health care has been in keeping the boys at home.

While Jake (right) is the only one who receives services from BAYADA his brother Ben (left) is also afflicted by the same disease.

Photo of Home Visit

 

 

Personal Care Assistant Fee-for-Service Rate Increased in NJ State Budget

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

On July 3, Governor Christie signed the NJ budget which contains a budget resolution to increase the Personal Care Assistant rate under fee-for-service. I am happy to inform you the NJ PCA fee-for-service rate is now $19.00 per hour. The new rate is effective as of July 1, 2017.
This is largely due to the support of BAYADA leadership, the directors and their office staff, and our wonderful Hearts for Home Care Ambassadors who made legislative office visits, held legislative roundtables, and offered home visits advocating for our clients and families. Great advocacy efforts by all!

NC Long Legislative Session Gaveled Out

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

Last week Speaker Tim Moore and President Pro Tempore Phil Berger ended the long legislative session after passing, along party lines, North Carolina’s 23 billion dollar budget. The budget contained a few provisions we asked for, but not everything. The budget was sent to Governor Roy Cooper for signature. As expected, the budget was vetoed and must be sent back to the General Assembly. Lawmakers plan to return in August where the Republican-majority has sufficient votes to override the veto. It is reported the General Assembly will reconvene for as many as three Special Sessions this year – on August 3rd to address any bills vetoed by Governor Cooper, and on September 6th and November 15th to address redistricting, as the US Supreme Court ruled that our current NC House and Senate maps unconstitutionally disenfranchised African American voters.

While members are back in their districts our Hearts for Home Care Ambassadors will be reaching out to schedule home visits and hosts legislative round table with their offices.   Watch for ways to get involved.

Advocacy over the Summer in NJ

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

Once the legislature finishes with the budget, the summer recess will begin. This is a good opportunity to reach out to your district legislators and offer legislative roundtables, or to just stop by their offices to say hello. Many of our pediatric clients have a more limited school schedule, making this is a great opportunity for home visits. If you would like assistance with home visits, roundtables, or district office visits, please let me know so I can help to get them scheduled. By early fall, the entire legislature will be busy running for re-election, so now is the time to put home health care on their agenda for discussion.

 

Successful NJ Client Visit with Assemblyman Troy Singleton

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

On May 26, Mount Laurel Pediatrics (MLP) client Crista Jackson met Assemblyman Troy Singleton at the door and invited him in for a visit. The assemblyman, from the 7th District, came to the home of Crista’s mom, Jenn Asson, in Willingboro to hear more about her life as the mother to a child with significant medical needs. Crista, age 3, was all smiles for the assemblyman as her mother and her nurse, Denise Wills, looked on. “She’s a tough little kid,” the assemblyman told Crista’s mom.

In addition to Assemblyman Singleton, Crista also had visitors from the Burlington County Times, who was documenting the visit for an article.

Thanks to Hearts for Home Care Ambassador and MLP Social Media Associate Brooke Fitzpatrick, who helped to arrange everything with Crista’s family for the visit to take place.

Union County NJ Family Uplifted After Visit From Assemblyman Holley

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

Through the efforts of Hearts for Homecare Ambassador and Director Miriam Mercado, State Assemblyman Jamel Holley  made a visit to the home of Tony Ufie, a client of the Union county office.  Assemblyman Holley was very moved by the client’s story and the many issues his family has been plagued with since the onset of his illness.  He was so touched, he has committed to assisting the client and his family in any way possible.  By the end of the visit, Assemblyman Holley asked Miriam to send him the details of everything that was discussed so that he can address each concern accordingly.  He also mentioned that he wanted to highlight the work that we do on his social media accounts.  Assemblyman Holley’s sincerity was palpable.  The family is very grateful and seemed hopeful that things were going to finally start looking up for them.

Photo (left to right): Asm. Jamel Holley, Mrs. Ruby (client’s mom and primary caregiver), Ponchita Dickerson (HHA), Sally Ufie (client’s wife), Marilyn Lopina, RN (CM), Miriam Mercado (Director)

Two Legislative Visits Build Champions in MD

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

Photo: Matt Paske, Delegate Brooks, and Shannon Gahs

Baltimore, MD (BAL) assistive care Associate Director Matt Paske and I visited two delegates this week: Delegate Benjamin Brooks and Delegate Antonio Hayes. We shared information with both men about the extent of care that can be given at home and the types of clients we serve. Both delegates are interested to learn more and continue the conversation during a home visit with one of our clients in their districts. District office visits and home visits are two of the key ways BAYADA’s Government Affairs Office (GAO) helps legislators learn about home health care.