41 BAYADA Home Health Aides nominated for Pennsylvania Direct Care Worker of the Year Awards

Left: PA Secretary of Aging Robert Torres (left) poses with several BAYADA nominees
Center: Aides and guests from Philadelphia arrive in Harrisburg
Right: Secretary Torres announces the Direct Care Worker of the Year!

This year, BAYADA proudly nominated 41 home health aides for the Pennsylvania Homecare Association’s (PHA) annual Direct Care Worker (DCW) of the Year Award. This prestigious award, cosponsored by the Department of Aging, is meant to recognize the state’s hardworking home health aides and reward an aide that has gone above and beyond his or her duties.

On March 27, BAYADA’s nominees joined more than 200 other DCWs from 50 counties across the state in Harrisburg, where nominees and guests enjoyed a variety of activities and informational sessions during the Direct Care Worker Forum. PHA hosted a DCW advocacy station that enabled aides to share their voice with legislators. Guests also enjoyed recipe samples and learned about new activities to try with clients. The highlight of the opening events was a Dementia Live simulation, which gave attendees a walk in the lives of clients suffering from Dementia.

Guests were then invited to sit down for the official Awards program. Each year, PHA recognizes all nominees for the outstanding work they do keeping thousands of older Pennsylvanians and those with disabilities at home and in their communities. After all nominations are received, PHA’s selection committee reviews each nominee and picks one overall winner. As the ceremony began, PHA CEO Vicki Hoak welcomed the attendees with a thank you message from the nominators for all the wonderful work they’ve done over the past year. Lisa Story, Founder and Executive Director from the nonprofit Hope Grows spoke on the importance of caregivers’ self-care. Finally, Acting Secretary of Aging Robert Torres announced the winner of the year, El Hassania El Bedraoui from Jevs Care at Home.

Congratulations to all the direct care workers who were nominated for this year’s award. BAYADA is proud to be involved with a program that demonstrates the state’s commitment to elevating the direct care worker profession and spotlighting the value of serving as a professional caregiver. Thank you to all our home health aides—your compassion and hard work truly exemplify The BAYADA Way.

PA Governor Tom Wolf Nominates New Secretary of Aging

Robert Torres will head the Department of Aging, replacing former secretary Teresa Osborne

As Pennsylvania begins another legislative session Governor Tom Wolf will be nominating cabinet members to serve as departmental leaders within his administration for the next four years. Robert Torres will be nominated as Secretary of the Department of Aging on to replace Teresa Osborne’s vacancy as she is nominated for the state’s civil service commission.

The Secretary of the Department of Aging is responsible for the administration of all aging programs in Pennsylvania, as well as to promote the protection for residents of the Commonwealth. This position is important to BAYADA as they oversee many of the waivers that we utilize for the large population of seniors that we serve in one of the top “graying” states in the country.

Robert Torres most recently served as the Secretary of the Commonwealth, a position he has held since 2017. Prior to that, Torres served in the State Department as Executive Deputy Secretary and as Deputy Secretary of Administration for the State Department of Health. In the private sector, Robert Torres was the Vice President of health information technology at Capital Blue Cross and at General Dynamics Information Technology.

Pennsylvania Government Affairs Director Laura Ness recently asked ambassadors to send welcome letters to the new Secretary of Aging. Join us in welcoming Robert Torres to this important position. GAO is excited to work with Secretary Torres and his team to help older adults living in Pennsylvania access the care they need.