PA Long-Term Care Council Workforce Committee Meets to Discuss Data Needs

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

Last week, the Long-Term Care Council met in Harrisburg along with the various sub-committees.  The Workforce Committee continued the discussion regarding how we continue to care the aging Pennsylvanians.  It was clear that direct care workers are the foundation of caring for older Pennsylvanians.  There was also the recognition that more direct care workers will be needed and recruited for the role.  The majority of our time was spent discussing the data needed to make the case for higher pay, better support, and professionalizing the profession.  The Government Affairs Office (GAO) is looking forward to continuing our work with the group.

Building the Client & Family Advocacy Program

Submitted by Rick Hynick, Director, Client and Family Advocacy (GAO)

 

On August 23, the Government Affairs Office (GAO) gathered in Philadelphia, along with a few office and field employees with advanced advocacy interests.  The goal of the day was to develop tactics to engage both clients and employees who enjoy advocacy to influence decision makers to support home health care.  Building awareness, Inspiring engagement and Empowering advocates were three main phases that were at the heart of our discussions related to grassroots advocacy efforts for our clients and families here at BAYADA and also for the many others who will be moved to join us from the community.

Ambassador Spotlight – KSP recruiting manager has the “Wright” stuff when it comes to Advocacy!

Submitted by Mike Sokoloski, Manager, Grassroots Advocacy

Lindsey Wright is the Ambassador that is always looking to help, like the first time I met her. -GAO Director Laura Ness and I were on our way to the PA Art Museum, next to the PA State Capitol. As we approached, there was Lindsey.  She was waiting on the sidewalk and on the phone talking and guiding a colleague to the building for our PA Legislative Day.

At the 2017 PA Legislative Day, Lindsey was able to spend 45 minutes with Senator Daylin Leach.  -It was a very candid conversation addressing all of our concerns, but specifically presumptive eligibility and an increase in the PAS rate for home care employees who work so hard for our clients.  Lindsey fostered this relationship with the senator.  She kept in touch with the district office director for Senator Leach, Judy Trombetta.  Lindsey worked diligently with two BAYADA Pediatric offices (PAO and WGP) to provide sponsorship for Senator Leach’s Kids Fair in Philadelphia, and Lindsey volunteered at the event!

In July, GAO coordinated a Client and Family Day at Temple University Kiva Auditorium.  GAO staff, CRO Division office and field employees, clients, and families had interactions with Philadelphia area elected state government legislators and discussed the pressing needs of our field staff, clients, and families.  The first person at the auditorium that day to assist with anything we needed: Lindsey Wright.

 

DHS Secretary Testifies at Recent ACA Repeal Hearing

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

Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Acting Secretary Teresa Miller was called to testify recently at the US Senate Committee on Finance during the Graham-Cassidy bill proposal.  This proposed legislation would have a traumatic impact to the home care industry.  Not only would it have limited health care coverage for millions of Americans it would have also block granted Medicaid which would limit Pennsylvanians access to home care services.

Because of our advocacy efforts and the advocacy efforts of others, the bill was removed from consideration.

There have been many action alerts this past quarter each one more important than the last. Thank you for taking the time to be a heart for home care and taking action!

Photo credit: PA Department of Human Services
DHS Acting Secretary Miller testifies in front of Senate Finance Committee Photo credit: PA Department of Human Services 

 

 

U.S. Senate Aging Committee Staff Spends Day with BAYADA

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

Recently, Samantha Koehler, policy aide to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging for ranking member U.S. Senator Bob Casey, and Vicki Hoak, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Homecare Association, spent the day in Philadelphia with BAYADA Home Health Care.  During her time with us, Samantha spent time learning about the inner workings of our service office and went on two home visits, one to an assistive care state programs client and another to a hospice client.

During Samantha’s visit, we discussed the most recent issues to impact home care in Pennsylvania including the institutional bias that still exists, the challenges with the recent proposal to block grant or institute per-capita caps to Medicaid, and the harmful proposed home health groupings rule.

Samantha loved getting to spend some time with Ms. Lenora E. and her aide Kimyatta J. Ms. E has been a BAYADA client for over a year and gets nine hours of care a day.  She is served by the Philadelphia Corporation of Aging (PCA) office. She also met Florence G., a 101-year-old heart patient who can remain at home with her daughter because of the care we deliver. She loves her Clinical Manager Faith Brown almost as much as she loves her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren. Grace is served out of the Pennsylvania Media Hospice (PMH) office.

A big thank you to the PCA and PMH staff for hosting Samantha!

Executive Director of PHA Vicki Hoak, BAYADA Aide Kimyatta J., BAYADA Client Lenora E. and Policy Aide Samantha Koehler sit and discuss home care.

Presumptive Eligibility Legislation Introduced in the House and Senate

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

The work of the Pennsylvania Homecare Association, Pennsylvania Health Law Project, and the Elder Law Attorneys has led to presumptive eligibility legislation being officially introduced in Pennsylvania’s General Assembly. The bill numbers are S.912 and H.1829.  The legislation will allow individuals to be presumed financially eligible for home care services. This will greatly expedite the process and allow individuals to access the care they want when they want it. Since being introduced GAO has been working to obtain additional co-sponsors for both pieces of legislation. So far, we have 24 House sponsors and 16 Senate sponsors.

More work is still needed.  Please take a moment to email your state legislators and ask them to support the legislation.

Click here to tell your legislators to support equalized access to home and community based services.

See the full list of sponsors here:

 

 

 

 

PA: Raising a Child with Complex Medical Needs Means Being Prepared Every Day

Submitted by Rick Hynick, Director, Client and Family Advocacy (GAO)

With so much in the news lately regarding the devastating hurricanes that have hit Texas, Florida and other states, a mom of a Pennsylvania school age client knows the importance of being prepared at all times.  She explained that everyone is talking about having extra supplies in case the power goes out because of these terrible storms.  However, this mom painted a picture of how families caring for loved ones with complex medical needs have to be prepared every day.  She explained that she needs extra supplies in case her child’s feeding tube were to malfunction.  She further explained that she has so many pieces of medical equipment that requires electricity, that her family has a portable generator, as they need the comfort of always knowing they will have electricity, even if the power were to go out in good weather.

New Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services

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

On August 17, Governor Tom Wolf announced that he asked the current Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller to take over as the Secretary of the Department of Human Services (DHS).  Miller accepted and took over as Acting Secretary on August 21, replacing Secretary Ted Dallas.

Secretary Dallas has been out on medical leave since mid-June.  It is expected that Dallas will join Wolf’s executive office staff when he returns.  Secretary Miller was already tapped by Governor Wolf to lead the proposed unified department of health and human services that has yet to be approved by the legislature.  In the coming weeks, the Government Affairs Office (GAO) plans to meet with Secretary Miller to introduce her to BAYADA.

PA Legislators: Co-sponsor Presumptive Eligibility

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

Recently, Senator Michele Brooks and Representative Aaron Berstine have circulated co-sponsor memos for legislation they are introducing.  The legislation allows individuals to be presumed eligible for home health care; a practice commonly known as “presumptive eligibility”.  This bill will help to increase access to care for potential and current BAYADA clients who don’t want to wait for their full applications to be processed before receiving care at home.  Specifically, the bill allows home health care agencies to presume that a client will be eligible for Medicaid and to start providing services while the full application is pending.  These clients need care as soon as possible, and this legislation will help give them that care.  The more support we can garner for this important legislation, the easier it will be to get the legislation passed.  I urge you to email your state legislators and encourage them to become co-sponsors of the presumptive eligibility bill by clicking here.

 

Successful Family Day Event in PA

Submitted by Rick Hynick, Director, Client and Family Advocacy

On July 27, staff from the Government Affairs Office (GAO): Mike Sokoloski, Laura Ness, Tara Montague, and I coordinated an event at Temple University in Philadelphia entitled, Family Day.  This event brought together CRO families, legislators, field staff and office staff, including some of our ambassadors,  with the goal of bringing attention to the need for an OLTL personal assistance rate increase.  The event was highlighted by a client presentation, legislative presentations, and focus group meetings where stories of how a rate increase would improve quality of care.