NJ Client Advocates for Our Aides

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

On May 26, as part of the Home Care Association’s Advocacy Day, our client, Victor Muniz, spoke during a press conference held by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg. Victor, who receives personal care assistance through the Jersey City (JC) office, shared the importance of home health aides in his rehabilitation and his ability to live independently. In addition, William Chambers, father to Perth Amboy (PER) client Billy Chambers, spoke about how home health aides enable him to continue to care for his son at home, but there is a strong need for increases in reimbursement rates. He stressed that aides are simply not paid enough money for what they do.

Mr. Muniz was also interviewed by a reporter from NJ Spotlight about this issue.

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!

Pennsylvania Office of Developmental Programs Restructures Rates

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

The Deputy Secretary of the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) Nancy Thaler released a statement that she would establish one statewide rate for services and that all rates would go up.  This is a welcomed move as it also supports our legislative priority of establishing one statewide rate and increasing the personal assistant services rate to $20.58.  We plan to ensure our legislative champions know about this move in our upcoming meetings.

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.

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.”

Successful Meeting with Adult Managers of Clinical Operations in PA

Submitted by Rick Hynick, Director, Client and Family Advocacy

Today, I had a meeting with the Adult Managers of Clinical Operations (MCOs) at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (WBS) office.  The meeting covered a full day agenda of topics such as new and changed practices, education on products, shared practices that have been effective and a section on quality.  I presented an overview of the Client and Family Advocacy program and the advantages that service offices might see when being involved with the program.  I also presented the many different ways that clients and family members of clients, such as adult children of waiver clients, can be involved in advocacy and take steps to help achieve goals such as rate increases and improvements to regulatory policy.

BAYADA GAO Attends Event Honoring 2015 BAYADA Home Health Care Champion Bill Adolph

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

The Springfield Republicans hosted an event to thank Representative Adolph for his service this past St. Patrick’s Day.

Representative Bill Adolph served as the House Appropriations Chair and was a key legislator in helping us achieve a $5 per hour increase for pediatric shift nursing in Pennsylvania in 2016.

His tireless advocacy and perseverance helped ensure BAYADA will be able to recruit and retain the nurses needed to serve our pediatric population.

Unfortunately for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Representative Adolph retired from the legislature at the end of last year.

Chief Government Affairs Officer Dave Totaro and I had the opportunity to attend the evening and thank Representative Bill Adolph again for championing our rate increase.  The event was well-attended with over 200 local supporters, dignitaries, and elected officials. We also had the opportunity to see Senator Scott Wagner, who is also running for Governor, and Congressmen Pat Meehan.

 

MassHealth Announces Second Rate Increase In The Face Of Budget Deficit

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

Last week, Chief Government Affairs Officer Dave Totaro, Boston Pediatrics Director Emery Hughes, and other industry leaders and families gathered together to meet with MassHealth.  MassHealth had asked for the meeting, in regards to the Continuous Skilled Nursing (CSN) program.  During the meeting, MassHealth stated that they recognized that low reimbursement rates were a major problem within the program.  They have planned to increase the rates by 2.25% effective July 1, 2017.  This is the second reimbursement increase we have been notified about within three months.  The organizations working to increase this rate were pleased with this movement but recognized that this is a fraction of what is needed to stabilize the rates.  We look forward to continuing our efforts to increase the CSN rates by a total of $15 per hour.

NC: Bill Dropped Moves Us One Step Closer To an Increase

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

Last week, North Carolina Representatives Josh Dobson, Chris Malone, and Gregory Murphy introduced HB 593 – Increase Personal Care Services Rates.  This proposed bill would increase the Medicaid Personal Care Service (PCS) rate to $4.25 per unit ($17.00 per hour) effective January 2018.  The bill has been referred to the House Health Committee for consideration and debate.  While this is a first step of many, it is encouraging to see that our message is being heard.

This year our Legislative Day is even more critical.  Once again, we are collaborating with the Association for Home & Hospice Care (AHHC) to host the largest legislative day ever.  Mark your calendar and plan to attend the Legislative Day on May 17 in Raleigh.