Making The Rounds in North Carolina

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

BAYADA Chief Government Affairs Officer Dave Totaro and I met with key lawmakers this past week, seeking their support for a rate increase for aide services under three Medicaid programs – Personal Care Services, Community Alternatives Program for Disabled Adults (CAP-DA), and CAP for Children (CAP-C)- in two different settings: in-home care and adult care homes.  While the lift is heavy, $47.8 million to bring the rate from $13.88 to $17.00 over two years, our conversations were positive.  We also met with the newly appointed but not yet confirmed Secretary of Health & Human Services, Dr. Mandy Cohen.  A good round of meetings!

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Dave Totaro, Lee and Dobson Rep. Carla Cunningham, who is a nurse

Monroe, NC Offices Visit With Representative Dean Arp

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

As a new Hearts for Home Care ambassador, MON Clinical Service Manager Rachel Cauble was a bit nervous about organizing a home visit until she realized who she was inviting.  “As my Sunday school teacher, it was easy to get him to agree,” said Rachel.  “And it goes to show that lawmakers are regular people.”  Representative Dean Arp visited with MON and MP staff on February 17 and toured the skills labs before heading to the home visit.  Prior to his stroke, our client, Mr. Jones was a HVAC mechanic.  Rep. Arp, as an engineer, connected quickly with our client as they shared stories of challenging service calls that Mr. Jones was able to fix.  This was a great opportunity for Rep. Arp to learn of home health care and the challenges we face due to the low reimbursement aide rate.  He indicated that the House of Representatives is looking at ways to stretch the Medicaid dollar and to find a way to help.  Click here to read the press release and view more pictures.

 

Photo: MON staff with Rep. Arp
Photo2: MP staff with Rep. Arp

Monroe, NC Offices Visit With Representative Dean Arp

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

As a new Hearts for Home Care ambassador, MON Clinical Service Manager Rachel Cauble was a bit nervous about organizing a home visit until she realized who she was inviting.  “As my Sunday school teacher, it was easy to get him to agree,” said Rachel.  “And it goes to show that lawmakers are regular people.”  Representative Dean Arp visited with MON and MP staff on February 17 and toured the skills labs before heading to the home visit.  Prior to his stroke, our client, Mr. Jones was a HVAC mechanic.  Rep. Arp, as an engineer, connected quickly with our client as they shared stories of challenging service calls that Mr. Jones was able to fix.  This was a great opportunity for Rep. Arp to learn of home health care and the challenges we face due to the low reimbursement aide rate.  He indicated that the House of Representatives is looking at ways to stretch the Medicaid dollar and to find a way to help.  Click here to read the press release and view more pictures.

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MP staff with Rep. Arp
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MON staff with Rep. Arp

North Carolina State Budget Surplus Projected

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

NC Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger indicated that the state will have a budget surplus of over $500 million on a budget of $22.5 billion.  While this projection is encouraging, our legislative asks remains high.  Our increase request will take the aide rate from $13.88 to $17.00 over two years, which is nearly a fifty million dollar appropriation.  To put things into perspective, last year there was a $425 budget surplus and our legislative ask was $3.6 million for nursing.  We continue to garner support for this much needed increase.  Watch for ways to get involved.

NC Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) Secretary Announced

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

Dr. Mandy Cohen has been appointed by NC Governor Roy Cooper as the new Department of Health & Human Services Secretary to lead Medicaid.  Cohen, an internist, carries a wealth of experience and knowledge having recently served as the Chief Operating Officer and Chief of Staff for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in Baltimore.  She plans to partner with healthcare providers, consumers, regulators, and lawmakers for a healthier state. BAYADA submitted formal comments on four Medicaid clinical policies.  Special thanks to the division director review teams for their insight and guidance in drafting these recommendations.

Caption: Dr. Mandy Cohen

Breakfast With A Purpose in North Carolina

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

To commemorate the start of the 2017-2018 regular session, our staff attended an annual breakfast in Raleigh on January 11.  As hosts of the event, staff had a 30 minute private mingle with members.  We were able to thank lawmakers for the nursing increase last year, and to discuss the less-than-adequate aide rate and the overly burdensome and varying administrative requirements of Local Management Entity/Managed Care Organizations.  Further, Senator Shirley Randleman, a home care supporter, thanked us for keeping her in the loop on a constituent issue where a medically fragile child is in jeopardy of losing his private duty nursing.  To which Randleman said, “For the insurance company to say this baby is stable and doesn’t need home health care is unbelievable.”  She is willing to help in any way possible.  Events like this allow us to continue to build relationship with lawmakers.  Click here for photos.   Special thanks to the following staff members who represented BAYADA:

  • Chad Shore
  • Dena Hinkle
  • Donna Heatherly
  • Elizabeth Goad
  • Trip Smithdeal
Photo: BAYADA advocates at the Women in Politics breakfast on January 11.

North Carolina: We’re Off To The Races

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

Lawmakers return to Raleigh, NC for the start of the 2017-2019 legislative session on January 11.  We expect to see a few changes in committee assignments and leadership, especially in House Appropriations for Health & Human Services (HHS), with the election defeat of Representative Marilyn Avila.  However, we anticipate (and are thrilled) that Representative Nelson Dollar will remain Chair of HHS Appropriations and Representative Josh Dobson will assume the leadership position of vice-chair on that committee.  Senators Ralph Hise and Louis Pate will remain Co-Chairs of Senate Appropriations for HHS.  Our reimbursement priority is to increase the Medicaid aide rate from $13.88 to $17.00 over two years.