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.

 

Why Client Advocacy Matters

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

At BAYADA, we often see that many of the government reimbursement rates for programs such as Medicaid are low and have not been increased in long periods of time.  The difficult effect this has on our revenue then carries over on our ability to offer pay rates that are attractive to nurses and aides seeking employment.  They sometimes accept other offers because of this, making recruitment a challenge and also making open shifts more prevalent.

There are ways that we can work together to combat this challenge.  Our service offices have wonderful relationships with our clients and family members. It is these people who we provide services to who have the best understanding of what it is like to live minute-by-minute with complex medical needs.  Government Affairs and service office staff working together have the best opportunity get the voices and real-life experiences of our clients out to our legislators who can make a difference.

Our legislators have the responsibility to represent the people who live in their districts and also to control the reimbursement and regulatory matters of most of our government funded programs. Our goal is to show the true needs that exist by getting voices of the clients to them so when it is time to vote or make a decision about an important topic such as reimbursement, they will do so with the best information possible at hand. -Over time, this will lead to higher reimbursement rates and better living wages for our staff allowing us to better align with The BAYADA Way and help more people.

A BAYADA client advocates for better HHA wages with legislators and families looking on.

The daughter of a BAYADA client and a BAYADA nurse at an advocacy event.

Advocacy to Equalize Access Continues in Pennsylvania

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

Last week, the Pennsylvania Homecare Association (PHA) and I met with House Public Health Chairman Matt Baker to discuss the best path forward regarding our legislation, which begins to equalize access to presumptive eligibility. During the discussion, we considered potential bill sponsors, a potential legislative hearing, and potential today blocks. The bill language will now go to the Legislative Reference Bureau for approval and formatting. This is the final step before a co-sponsor memo is released and we can activate our advocates and ask for legislative sponsors. More updates coming soon.

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!

Maryland Ambassadors Teach Legislators About Home Health Care Through Visits

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

Hearts for Home Care ambassadors have been active recently, building relationships with legislators in the “interim,” while the legislature is out of session.  Director of BAL Matt Paske and I have met with Delegate Jay Jalisi, Delegate Antonio Hayes, and Delegate Ben Brooks in their offices.  Director of HFV Michele Heasley, the HFV staff and I introduced Senator Bob Cassilly’s aide to the daughter of a client in their office.  Speaking with legislators when they have more time available allows for more in-depth conversations that help legislators understand home health care and become champions on the issues that matter to our clients and employees.

In PA, No Obstacle is Too Big

Submitted by Rick Hynick, Director, Client and Family Advocacy

I was recently accompanying a mother and her  daughter who require home care services to the state Capitol to meet with elected officials about a rate increase, to help attract more nurses to home care as the mother/daughter team are in urgent need of help.  As we went from one meeting to another, I kept thinking about how much I admired the mother for her determination as she needed to push her daughter’s wheelchair everywhere we went.  As we neared the office location of our last meeting, we encountered a set of stairs and a wheelchair lift that was not functioning.  Instead of not attending the meeting, the mother accepted help from another person and we worked together to get the family beyond the obstacle and to the meeting where much success was encountered.

NJ GAO Advocacy Week Ambassador Experience

Submitted by Allison Nulton, Associate (TRP)

​During BAYADA’s Government Affairs Office (GAO) NJ Advocacy Week, I was excited to embark on my first experience as a BAYADA Ambassador.

On Tuesday, May 2, GAO Community Liaison Tara Montague, Toms River, NJ (TR) assistive care state programs Client Services Manager Rebecca Capuano, and I met with Senator Connors and Assemblywoman Gove from District 9. We had the opportunity to advocate for the clients we serve and ask the legislators to support raising the rate floor for NJ’s personal care assistant program in Managed Medicaid to the state’s fee-for-service rate.

We also asked them to support a $10-an-hour fee-for-service increase in private duty nursing. Both Senator Connors and Assemblywoman Gove were very receptive to the stories we shared about our clients and the challenges they face daily, and were open to having a round-table discussion in the future.

I also met with Senator Thompson from District 12 on Friday, May 5 to discuss the issues we face in the home care setting.  Senator Thompson, GAO Director Louise Lindenmeier, and I discussed a variety of issues that impact home care. We invited Senator Thompson for a home visit in the near future. We hope to schedule one soon!

I am excited for future visits to advocate for our clients, families, and field staff and to raise awareness about the support that is needed to continue providing excellent home care The BAYADA Way.

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.

South Carolina Legislative Day a Success

Submitted by Lee Dobson, Area Director (GAO)

Small and Mighty

Last month South Carolina joined the ranks of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania by hosting its first annual lobby day. All participants dressed in BAYADA red, and our smiles were seen and felt as our eight BAYADA Hearts for Home Care Ambassadors spread our common message—home care keeps families together, and creates jobs in the community while saving the state money.

“I was thrilled to join our small-but-strong BAYADA team in Columbia, SC as we continue to build our fledgling advocacy program,” said Chief Government Affairs Officer Dave Totaro. “It is exciting to see the enthusiasm from our SC team as they advocate for our clients and staff, and the very positive reception we got from the legislators and their teams. I am very optimistic about our future in SC.”

During the one-day event, our delegation reached 30 lawmakers, including key house and senate leaders who oversee the Medicaid programs. Medicaid rates are one of the lowest in the nation, and making a connection with members is a great start to resolving that.

Division Director Melissa Allman understands the important role advocacy plays in the political process. She shared, “Building our brand goes hand-in-hand with building relationships with lawmakers. They are responsible for the rates.”

Our advocacy day was a great first step in garnering support for home care. Our Hearts for Home Care Ambassadors plan to schedule home and district visits with members over the summer to keep the momentum of our outreach efforts going.

 

Quotes from attendees:

  • Associate Director Nicole Lugo: “Making a personal connection with a lawmaker is simpler than you think. They are people too.”
  • Associate Director Stephanie Black: “This was my first experience and I loved it! I’m convinced the more they know us, the more they’ll see the impact on families, the more they’ll invest in home care.”
  • Associate Director Amy Ramey: “Every senator and representative I spoke with had a story about a family member or friend who has received or is in need of services. I was honored to be a voice for our clients.”
  • Associate Director Cari Altom: “I was impressed that members actually left session to come speak with us in the lobby. Glad I came.”

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.