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)

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.

New Jersey Client Helps Advocate for Her Aide

Submitted by Tara Montague, Manager, Client and Family Advocacy, NJ

As part of BAYADA Home Health Care’s Advocacy Week, 23-year-old Dover, NJ (DOV) assistive care state programs client Adelina “Addy” Rivera wanted to do her part to fight for a pay increase for her Certified Home Health Aide Gloria Atehortua. Last Friday morning, along with DOV Director Gretchen Munnelly, Client Services Manager Yurani Zapata, and me, Addy visited with Senator Steve Oroho and Assemblyman Parker Space at their offices in Sparta. Her aide’s care is so important to Addy and many others that she wanted to tell her legislators personally how essential Gloria is in her life. She prepared a statement which she shared with the legislators:

“If I didn’t have help, I don’t want to think about what could possibly go wrong,” said Addy. “If I didn’t have my aide’s assistance, I would not be able to function.”

Senator Oroho was so moved by her message, he asked her to consider coming to Trenton to speak to his colleagues at the statehouse. Addy indicated that she would like to do whatever she can to help with the cause. In addition, Senator Oroho gave Addy a special pin with a flag and a cross. This had extra meaning for Addy who collects flags in honor of her father, who is a veteran.

Morris Plains Pediatrics Office Sponsors First Community Advocacy Meeting

Submitted by Tara Montague, Manager, Client and Family Advocacy

Photo (NJ2): Christine Rios with the family and community members at the meeting.

Morris Plains Pediatrics (PED) Director Christine Rios was enthusiastic about working with the Government Affairs Office (GAO) to create the first client and community advocacy group in the state.  Despite the torrential downpours, four family and community members ventured out to the inaugural meeting on April 6, at PED.  The small group shared resources and offered each other support.  I discussed the need for legislative advocacy for home health care and how client and family voices can create a lasting impact with legislators.  A second meeting has already been scheduled for June 7.

NJ Client Advocacy Program Moves Forward

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

Government Affairs Office Director Louise Lindenmeier and I have visited with over 28 offices so far this year, to talk about client and family advocacy and Hearts for Home Care.  Response from the service offices has been overwhelmingly positive and the stories shared by the offices inspire me more every day.   BAYADA employees have begun to identify clients who have an interest in advocacy and are reaching out to connect them to our new Client and Family Advocacy program.  We are using this client base to help advocate to our legislators and share their stories through different media and settings.

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.

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.

Home Visit Shows Need For Home Care To NJ Legislator

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

Through the efforts of Hearts for Homecare Ambassador and Director Rose Sample, State Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez made a visit to the home of Cherry Hill Pediatric client, Lindsay H. The Senator had the opportunity to meet Lindsay and her mother, Debbie, as well as some of the Pediatric Cherry Hill office staff and Susan Stout, one of the nurses who helps to take care of Lindsay.

According to Rose, both the client’s mom Debbie and nurse Susan were just blown away by the Senator’s compassion and concern.  The Senator and Lindsay’s mom connected on a number of levels.  Senator Cruz-Perez thanked everyone repeatedly and said it made her week to be there.  In follow-up from the meeting with Lindsay’s mom, Debbie shared that, “She seemed like a wonderful and sincere person, and I feel so fortunate to have had the chance to get to know her and share stories.”

Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez, our client’s mother Debbie H., Rose Sample, Clinical Manager Kara Leahy (pink jacket), Nurse Susan Stout, and our client Lindsay H.

BAYADA Government Affairs Office (GAO) Hosts NJ Hearts for Home Care Ambassador Training

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

With over 45 Hearts for Home Care ambassadors in attendance at the New Jersey Learning Center, Talent Management Office and Leadership Development Project Manager Ron Ross and the Government Affairs Office (GAO) team, offered a full day training on ways the ambassadors can effectively be involved in grassroots advocacy.  The day was filled with interactive activities, focusing on state issues, clients advocacy, and effective storytelling.  Each ambassador had an opportunity to speak about their clients and employee stories which will be very impactful to legislators.  The Ambassador’s next step is to meet with their district legislators during the planned, “Hearts for Home Care Advocacy Week” in May.

Ambassadors listening to Ron Ross speak