BAYADA Government Affairs Office Takes Ambassadors to Trenton, NJ

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

Advocacy with lawmakers is so important for our clients and families.  On March 22, Ambassador of the Year, Hudson County (HUD) Client Service Manager Ida Rodriquez, Perth Amboy (PER) Client Service Manager Julia Nelson, and Client Advocacy Manager Tara Montague accompanied me in Trenton where we met Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak and Senior Advisor to the Speaker Wayne Zitt. We discussed home health care and the need for higher reimbursement in order to pay higher wages for home health aides. As a result of the meeting, Assemblyman Karabinchak will co-sponsor A320 which sets a floor in managed care at the state’s fee for service rate. Senior Advisor Zitt will encourage the bill to be voted upon by the General Assembly. Both Ambassadors enjoyed the day in Trenton as they met many other legislators throughout the statehouse.

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.

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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!