Advocacy became part of the culture at BAYADA Home Health Care a little over 10 years ago out of a need for a collective voice to speak on behalf of our clients, families, and field staff who are impacted every day by home care. As Chief Government Affairs Officer Dave Totaro, likes to say, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” And that’s what we did. We banded together a voluntary group of advocates within the company with the single purpose of acting as a voice for those in the home care community that may not have had the opportunity otherwise ─ they are our Hearts for Home Care Ambassadors.
Our ambassadors serve as the liaison between the Hearts for Home Care advocacy team and their co-workers and home care community. Their primary responsibility is to develop and foster relationships with their direct-constituent legislators to spread awareness and advocate for better wages for field staff, more approved hours for clients, and the overall governmental investment in the home care industry. Year after year, our ambassadors go above and beyond to ensure legislators are aware of the crucial importance of home care for so many families across the country.
A few weeks ago, Hearts for Home Care presented the 2019 National Ambassador of the Year award to Shelby Myers for her role as a dedicated, passionate, and influential ambassador. As an ambassador in New Jersey, Shelby’s advocacy efforts were abundant ─ She developed her own platform to share client and employee stories through a podcast, Clayton’s Voice, she arranged home visits in which she invited legislators into the home of a client to showcase the everyday process of care, she arranged legislative roundtables with office staff and key decision makers, and she also met with many legislators individually advocating on her own. For these reasons and many more, Shelby was the clear choice as the 2019 honoree.
“This award is truly a culmination of efforts by so many individuals. Although I humbly accept it, by no means am I the primary recipient – that honor should be given to the families I was privileged to represent. Their powerful and sometimes heartbreaking stories, were the driving force behind legislation in New Jersey. I have no doubt that their voices were echoed in the ears of our lawmakers as they were voting on important home care legislation. Our role as ambassadors is essential to the well-being of our clients, families, and the compassionate field staff that takes care of them. Hearts for Home Care offers something that many of them have lost – hope. H4HC shifts the impossibility of their situation to a probability of hopeful change. Not only can we evoke change legislatively, but we empower families by showing how even the smallest of voices can create the largest of changes ─ I truly held this privilege in the highest regard. As Emerson so eloquently expressed in his description of success, “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!” I feel enormously blessed and grateful for every family I met, every story I heard, and every hand I held this past year. Additionally, I want to thank all of the BAYADA employees who gave me the opportunity to meet their clients and families, to the Hearts for Home Care team for the advocacy experiences you foster to elicit change, and to all of my mentors – thank you for changing my life.”
BAYADA’s Government Affairs Office (GAO) offers employees
and clients many ways to get involved in advocacy through our Hearts for Home
Care program. One of the very easiest ways to get involved with advocacy right
from your cell phone or desk is by taking action on an Action Alert. Generally,
GAO will send out an action alert email to all employees, or employees in a
certain state, when a piece of legislation requires support or opposition from
our elected officials. Action alerts take
two minutes to complete and most of the work is done for you—All you need to do
is click a couple of buttons in order to send a pre-written email to your legislators
to encourage their action!
During the previous quarter, GAO sent out two federal action alerts to all BAYADA office staff. The first alert was sent on February 14 and requested that employees take action to urge their officials to support a bill to counteract certain sections of the Patient Driven Groupings Model (PDGM) that would be harmful to our Home Health staff and clients. The second alert was sent on February 27, and asked that employees urge their federal legislators to support action to revise an outdated Medicare requirement to allow non-physician practitioners (NPPs), such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, to certify a patient’s eligibility for coverage of home health services. You can still take action on this alert here.
See the results of both action alerts below. Congratulations to the Firewheel and Flame
Lily divisions, which had the most participation in these two alerts! We
are proud of your commitment to advocacy and your dedication to speaking to our
many clients that do not have the voice to speak for themselves!
Thank you to the many employees that took action and encouraged their peers to do so as well. As you can see from the below charts, both alerts—which both impact our Home Health employees and clients the most—continue to see relatively low participation. It’s important that we share our voices wherever possible, and particularly for Action Alerts that are easy to complete. We are hoping that all BAYADA employees recommit to advocacy. During the next federal action alert we hope to see 50% or more office staff participation.
South Carolina’s 112th General Assembly will come to an end on May 10. At the same time, the state’s election season is starting to heat up. Because legislators will be focused on their constituencies and their districts, GAO’s focus will shift to connecting with legislators through in-district home visits and legislative roundtables.
Additionally, over the next two weeks GAO will be submitting BAYADA’s recommendations regarding the state’s Medicaid Waiver programs to the Department of Health and Human Services.
If your office is interested in hosting a legislative roundtable, or if you have a client that may be a good fit for a legislative home visit, please email me.
Key Primary Races and Important Dates
South Carolina’s gubernatorial campaigns are off to a running start. Currently there are three democrats and six republicans running for the state’s top seat. Current Governor Henry McMaster (R) and Lt. Governor Kevin Bryant (R) will both be competing for Governorship. This will be the first year that the state’s current governor and lieutenant governor will run against one another. So far, only two candidates have announced their running mates for Lt. Governor. Governor McMaster (R) has chosen Pamela Evette, a businesswoman from Travelers Rest, as his running mate, and Marguerite Willis (D) has chosen State Senator John Scott (D) has her running mate.
Both South Carolina Congressional and State House legislators will be up for reelection this year.
Candidates for South Carolina governor, from left to right (top) Kevin Bryant(R), Yancey McGill (R), Henry McMaster (R), and Phil Noble (D), (bottom) James Smith (D), Catherine Templeton (R), John Warren (R), and Marguerite Willis (D).
Important Election Dates
Deadline to register to vote: May 13 Are you registered to vote? If not, click here
Legislative successes, like the NC Medicaid rate increase for nursing in 2015 and 2016 and the home health aide increase this past year, don’t magically happen. Legislative successes start with an identified need — low Medicaid rates made it impossible to pay people what they are worth — and end with legislators supporting jobs in the community and keeping families together by investing in home health care. Every step along the way our Hearts for Home Care Advocates carried our unified message to decision-makers. Our cumulative actions over the years, including home and district visits, legislative round tables with lawmakers, responding to calls to action, attending lobby days, etc., made all the difference. Individually and collectively our shared voices got results. Join us to be a Heart for Home Care Advocate.
Submitted by Shannon Gahs, Director, MD Government Affairs (GAO)
On November 16, I met with Congressman “Dutch” Ruppersberger (D-MD2) and Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) at a community event about access to Medicaid, which was the same day that the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which includes major provisions affecting Medicaid eligibility and tax issues that will impact our employees. It is important that our federal legislators see home health care for the good work we do in their districts, as they make decisions that impact how we are able to practice. The Senate will debate this bill in coming weeks.
Submitted by Shannon Gahs, Director, DE Government Affairs (GAO)
Wilmington (WIL) Director and Hearts for Home Care Ambassador Kim Roman and I joined the Alzheimer’s Association Delaware Valley Chapter for coffee with Senator Tom Carper (D-DE). Healthcare issues, including funding for Medicare and eligibility for Medicaid, are increasingly in the federal spotlight and up for debate in Congress. It is important to build relationships with our federal legislators and to make sure they know how important home health care is in their states!
Submitted by Tara Montague, Manager, Client and Family Advocacy, NJ (GAO)
On November 18, I had the opportunity to present at the statewide meeting of the Regional Family Support Planning Councils on The State of Home Supports and Services for the Medically Fragile Population in NJ. The members of the 10 regional councils monitor and evaluate family support programs, provide information to policymakers, and advocate to local officials and state legislators about the needs of those who support a family member with a developmental/intellectual disability at home. As part of the day’s program, we also had the chance to meet a representative of Governor-elect Phil Murphy’s campaign who emphasized the new administration’s desire to learn more about the disability community and its needs.
Submitted by Shannon Gahs, Director, MD Government Affairs (GAO)
This week, Harford County Visits (HFV) Marketing Manager Nicole Matricciani and I met with Delegate Andrew Cassilly (R-35B), who represents many of our clients and employees in the county. I also met with Delegate Antonio Hayes (D-40) who is a member of the House Health & Government Operations Committee and represents parts of Western Baltimore City. The Government Affairs Office (GAO) is building these important relationships to help our legislators understand the complex and important work we do in their communities, and the benefit home health care brings to the state.
Submitted by Louise Lindenmeier, Director, Government Affairs (GAO)
Client and Family Advocacy in NJ are picking up speed. In the third quarter of 2017, we participated in four home visits with local legislators. This brings our totals for 2017 to nine home visits, one legislative round table, and one client district visit.
Hearts for Home Care Ambassador, Allison Nulton invited NJ state legislator Senator Thompson to a home visit for one of her clients from the TRP office.
District 6 Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt visited with 14 year old Mt. Laurel Pediatrics client Juan M and his mother, Carmen.
Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll from District 25 visited the home of 20 year old PED client Lily Kaplan in Morristown.
Dawn Moeller, mom to PED clients Zak and Tyler, invited Senator Cardinale into their home to share what it’s like to have not one, but two children who are medically fragile and require nursing care.
We have two visits already scheduled during the upcoming fourth quarter and a couple more pending.
If you’re interested in setting up a home visit for one of your clients, please contact Louise Lindenmeier or Tara Montague and we will be happy to assist you.
Submitted by Lee Dobson, Area Director, NC Government Affairs (GAO)
Legislative successes, like the Medicaid rate increase for nursing last year and the home health aide increase this year, don’t magically happen. Legislative successes start with an identified need — low Medicaid rates made it impossible to pay people what they are worth — and end with legislators supporting jobs in the community and keeping families together by investing in home health care. Every step along the way, our Hearts for Home Care ambassadors carried our unified message to decision-makers. Our cumulative actions over the years, including home and district visits, legislative round tables with lawmakers, responding to calls to action, attending lobby days, etc., made all the difference. Individually and collectively our shared voices got results. Join us to be a Heart for Home Care ambassador.