Using Social Media as an Advocacy Tool

Every day, BAYADA employees, clients, and families use social media to connect with one another, keep in touch with distant friends and relatives, and learn about news and events near and far. But social media has evolved far past the traditional definition of “social.” In today’s world, social media gives the home care community the opportunity to spread public awareness about home care’s impact and the opportunity to more conveniently advocate for better home care laws and policies.

Advocacy simply means communicating to elected officials what home care means to you and how it impacts your everyday life. Because our state and federal lawmakers make decisions that affect home care providers’ ability to recruit and retain quality caregivers to serve our clients and their families, it is important that they are able to connect home care to their constituents’ names and faces. Social media outlets, particularly Facebook and Twitter, allow for members of the home care community to advocate from the convenience of their home or office.

Sharing a video of a family expressing the value that their in-home nurse or aide brings to them and their loved ones, for example, enables other social media users to understand how home care impacts them, their neighbors, and thousands of people across the country. Our Hearts for Home Care platform is designed to share videos, quotes, photos, news, and advocacy opportunities with elected officials and the community at-large.

In addition to this platform, it’s important that members of the home care community—including staff, clients, and family members—are aware of the power they hold at their own fingertips. Getting involved in advocacy through social media is easy, and the more we share our voices the better we can be heard. In addition to following our Facebook and Twitter, you can tell your elected officials what home care means to you in three easy steps:

  1. Find your elected officials on Hearts for Home Care’s Find My Legislators page
  2. Like and follow them on social media (the links are right on the page!)
  3. Connect with them regularly: Share Hearts for Home Care’s posts with your legislators, post on their pages about what home care means to you, or message them to ask them about meeting them in-person to talk about the value of home care. You’ll find that their pages will also give you information about news and events like Senior Expos and Town Halls that may be valuable for you, your staff, or your clients.

Social media not only brings people who value home health care together, but it shows those who have not yet needed home health care its value and necessity. It gives our industry a face and a voice and allow our representatives and senators to see that it affects real people in their communities, and it shows our elected officials that our friends and neighbors with special medical needs should be able to receive the care they need in the place the feel the safest and most comfortable–at home. To learn more about how you can be a voice for home care, join Hearts for Home Care today.

Become a “Social” Hearts for Home Care Advocate!

Submitted by Mike Sokoloski, Manager, Grassroots Advocacy (GAO)

The mission of the Government Affairs Office (GAO) is to act as a voice for our clients, their families, and our employees through education, advocacy, service and research on a full time basis.  At BAYADA, we also have a thriving ambassador program to develop and foster relationships with local legislators through district and home visits, and by keeping office staff informed of key legislative issues.  

However, anyone at BAYADA can actively participate through our social avenues on Facebook and Twitter by sharing our messages of advocacy with friends and family.

For the links and more ways to be involved, visit our website: heartsforhomecare.com or email me at msokoloski@bayada.com.

 

BAYADA to US Senate: No hearing. No vote.

Submitted by Dave Totaro, Chief Government Affairs Officer (GAO)

 

This is the most important “Call to Action” in BAYADA’s history. The US Senate in Washington is pushing through a bill that would drastically cut services and access to care by trying to vote on a bill without any hearings or any debate.

As Hearts for Home Care, you will undoubtedly be a driving force to preventing this potentially damaging action. In fact, more than 2,400 of our champions have already sent more than 120,000 letters to senators and our #NoHearingNoVote hashtag has been posted more than 700 times with a reach of 2 MILLION users on Twitter! Continue to have conversations with your colleagues and encourage advocacy. We have complete and total confidence that your efforts will be paramount to our success!

Take action three different ways!

 

  1. Email US Senators: If you haven’t already, please visit www.bayada.com/actnow to take action now. Note: You will be asked to enter your work e-mail and home zip code to take action.After you take action, forward the link to three friends and share it on your social media pages!
  2. Facebook profile frame: Use these instructions to add a #NoHearingNoVote frame to your profile picture.
  3. #NoHearingNoVote social media post: Post a photo of yourself, your fellow Hearts for Home Care, or your loved ones holding up a sign showing that we’re standing up for our clients and caregivers. When you share, be sure to include the hashtag #nohearingnovote in the caption.

Where are we now?

On Thursday, June 22, the Senate released the Better Care Reconciliation Act, a “discussion draft” of its version of the American Health Care Act. Four Republican senators have stated publicly they do not support the bill in its current form, meaning it cannot pass the Senate without changes being made to it. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is not expected to release a cost estimate of the legislation until early next week. A vote in the Senate could occur prior to the July 4 recess.

This version of the legislation would make broad changes to federal spending in these five areas:

  1.    Medicaid: Reduces federal matching rate for adults covered by the Medicaid expansion; caps the growth in per-enrollee payments for most Medicaid beneficiaries
  2.    Tax credits and related coverage provisions: Eliminates subsidies to purchase plans from the individual market in 2020; revises ACA tax credits
  3.    Patient and state stability fund grants: Provides $112 billion to states and insurers to reduce premiums for insurance purchased in the individual market
  4.    Penalty payments: Eliminates the employer mandate and individual mandate penalties
  5.    Noncoverage provisions: Repeals multiple taxes not relating to coverage, including the tax on high-income people and the medical device tax

The Power of the Hashtag

Submitted by Jake Verdi, Intern, Government Affairs (GAO)

Social Media has become many Americans go-to platform to speak about their beliefs and ideas, especially about politics in America. It gives people the ability to voice their opinions.  The ability for citizens to give their input about legislation that affects them and millions of others is the foundation of democracy.

Recently, a small group of Republican U.S. Senators, reportedly only 12 people, have been drafting a bill in secret that has been rumored to cut 25% of Medicaid funding.  They will press for a vote without a public hearing. This cut would be detrimental to millions of low-income and disabled people who rely on Medicaid to receive necessary medical care.

In the United States, citizens of each state vote for two U.S. Senators to represent them and their interests in the federal government. The idea that 12 people have silenced the other 88 elected senators on the matter gives the American people much less representation on an issue that is key to our ideas of government and society.  Not only are they not including the other elected Senators of the United States, but due to the secrecy, no one can at this time confirm whether they are actually representing the ideas of the people who actually put them into office.

It has become time to fight back, and social media can play a key part in the strategy. This lack of a hearing is a pressing issue among all Americans today, and it has caused multiple movements to be created on social media. One of the movements that has been used by many, including senators, is the hashtag campaign, #nohearingnovote. As it states, the movement and those supporting it call for there to be a hearing for the bill so that everyone is able to give their thoughts before a full vote occurs, through the representatives that they elect. Supporting the movement can be as easy as sending a tweet with the “#nohearingnovote” in the message.

Through using social media, our go-to platform to discuss so many topics, we can create as much buzz as possible to stop this bill until a hearing can be held and the voices of all Americans can be represented. Support the movement! #nohearingnovote

BAYADA to US Senate: No hearing. No vote.

Submitted by Dave Totaro, Chief Government Affairs Officer (GAO)

This is the most important “Call to Action” in BAYADA’s history. The US Senate in Washington is pushing through a bill that would drastically cut services and access to care by trying to vote on a bill without any hearings or any debate.

As Hearts for Home Care, you will undoubtedly be a driving force to preventing this potentially damaging action. In fact, more than 2,400 of our champions have already sent more than 120,000 letters to senators and our #NoHearingNoVote hashtag has been posted more than 700 times with a reach of 2 MILLION users on Twitter! Continue to have conversations with your colleagues and encourage advocacy. We have complete and total confidence that your efforts will be paramount to our success!

Take action three different ways!

  1. Email US Senators: If you haven’t already, please visit www.bayada.com/actnow to take action now. Note: You will be asked to enter your work e-mail and home zip code to take action.After you take action, forward the link to three friends and share it on your social media pages!
  2. Facebook profile frame: Use these instructions to add a #NoHearingNoVote frame to your profile picture.
  3. #NoHearingNoVote social media post: Post a photo of yourself, your fellow Hearts for Home Care, or your loved ones holding up a sign showing that we’re standing up for our clients and caregivers. When you share, be sure to include the hashtag #nohearingnovote in the caption.

Where are we now?

On Thursday, June 22, the Senate released the Better Care Reconciliation Act, a “discussion draft” of its version of the American Health Care Act. Four Republican senators have stated publicly they do not support the bill in its current form, meaning it cannot pass the Senate without changes being made to it. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is not expected to release a cost estimate of the legislation until early next week. A vote in the Senate could occur prior to the July 4 recess.

This version of the legislation would make broad changes to federal spending in these five areas:

  1. Medicaid: Reduces federal matching rate for adults covered by the Medicaid expansion; caps the growth in per-enrollee payments for most Medicaid beneficiaries
  2. Tax credits and related coverage provisions: Eliminates subsidies to purchase plans from the individual market in 2020; revises ACA tax credits
  3.  Patient and state stability fund grants: Provides $112 billion to states and insurers to reduce premiums for insurance purchased in the individual market
  4.  Penalty payments: Eliminates the employer mandate and individual mandate penalties
  5.  Noncoverage provisions: Repeals multiple taxes not relating to coverage, including the tax on high-income people and the medical device tax

Ambassador Support through Social Media

Submitted by Mike Sokoloski, Grassroots Manager (GAO

Our Ambassador program focuses on supporting our Ambassadors as they develop relationships with local legislators.  We do this through Ambassador training, one-on-one guidance from GAO State Directors and I and through other tools and resources.

One new tool we are excited to bring Ambassadors is our private Facebook group.

This Facebook group is a great opportunity for our Ambassadors to support their peers, recognize success, and bounce ideas off of one another.  It will give them the opportunity to interact “live” with GAO staff, other Ambassadors, office staff, and field staff, answer questions, start discussions to empower colleagues to accomplishing effective advocacy interactions, and celebrate one another’s successes.  Check out the Hearts for Homecare private Facebook site and get involved: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1329442400470650/?ref=br_rs

 

Client Corner

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

Efforts are under way to communicate with adult offices that work with assistive care clients through the OLTL program.  By bringing caregiving experiences together with voices of our clients and families, BAYADA’s Government Affairs Office has the ability to team up with service offices to fight for better reimbursement, which in turn can help with staff recruitment and retention.

 

Champions Among Us, a BAYADA quarterly newsletter dedicated to pediatric and adult client family advocacy, will soon become part of Care Connections, and will provide our clients with quarterly updates.

 

Don’t forget to join Hearts For Home Care at www.heartsforhomecare.com   and help a client or family to join as well to become part of a growing group of people who are ready to advocate for a better tomorrow for home health care.  An advocacy Facebook page will soon be underway and will be dedicated to advocacy efforts and clients’, families’ and our employees’ activities.  Looking forward to seeing everyone at Awards Weekend!