Area Director, Government Affairs, Lee Dobson and I have been making the rounds and walking the halls at the state capitol to educate key legislators about home care.
Our meetings with SC Senators Mike Gambrell and Floyd Nicholson gave us the opportunity to educate them on our challenges with staffing and reimbursement rates. Senator Gambrell stated, “I’m familiar with home health care. My dad had services after his hospital stay, and he has been able to recover quickly because of the nurses.” We also met with Representatives Bruce Bryant and Tommy Pope who also shared their experience of home care.
Representative Tommy Pope, Ex Officio, stated “I understand the cost savings home care can offer, and feel people want to be home.” We had an encouraging meeting with the Assistant Director for Budget Development Senate Finance Committee, Angie Willis. She is very interested in learning more about home care needs for South Carolinians and how the state legislature can help.
We also had a productive meeting with House Ways and Means Chairman Brian White and his Chief of Staff Beverly Smith. Chairman White has supported home care for many years and was previously instrumental in passing the enhanced rate differential for nursing. He gave us great insight on the challenges and opportunities within the political process and has helped us shape our path towards higher reimbursement rates. We look forward to working with these and other lawmakers as we increase awareness and garner support for BAYADA’s legislative priorities.
If you’d like to find out what you can do to help advocate for higher reimbursement rates, sign up to become a Heart for Home Care!
On Thursday, January 25, 2018 local lawmakers, state legislators, health care industry leaders, and constituents came together to attend the Health Care Summit. The Summit focused on federal and state health care updates, and local statistics. US Congressman Norman (R-SC) gave federal updates from Washington, and former Chairman Eric Bedingfield and Lt. Governor Kevin Bryant spoke on state and regulatory issues.
The summit enabled me to learn more about the challenges in health care on a state and federal level. As a new GAO director, the opportunity also afforded me a chance to meet several key players in the state’s healthcare field, which will be especially important as I establish and expand South Carolina’s government affairs program to benefit BAYADA, our staff, and our clients.
New South Carolina representative Nancy Mace was sworn into office this past month. When new legislators are sworn in, it is important that we educate them about the importance of home health care and how it has enabled thousands of South Carolinians to stay at home with their loved ones. This is especially true for Rep. Mace- Since she will be serving on the House Medical Committee, which oversees regulatory issues for the home care industry, it will be important for us to educate her on the challenges our relatively new offices are facing.
Rep. Nancy Mace recently won the special election for House District 99 in Charleston and Berkeley counties and is the first woman to ever win this seat. As a former business owner of a small public relations technology start-up, she understands the grit and determination needed to get a business off the ground. We are hopeful that her business experience and committee membership will spur her to become a legislative champion for our issues.
Legislative meetings are most effective with real life stories from constituents. If you are interested in joining me to meet Rep. Mace and tell her about what home care means to you and your clients, let me know!
Just three weeks into South Carolina’s session and we are already seeing a flurry of activity. This week was filled with numerous meetings and Governor McMaster’s first State of the State address.
Several House Ways and Means budget subcommittees and Senate Finance subcommittees met this past week to hear state agency budget requests for the next fiscal year. Chairman of the Healthcare Committee Murrell Smith has requested that the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) work with a consulting group to gather data and calculate the amount of funding the Department will need, which may impact BAYADA’s Medicaid clients.
Additionally, this past Wednesday, Governor Henry McMaster delivered his first State of the State address to a joint session of the General Assembly. He highlighted recommendations from his Executive Budget proposals and noted his priorities, including tax relieve, job creation, education, and health care.
In the Governor’s budget, he is proposing an increase of funds to support South Carolinians with traumatic brain injuries to be able to get the rehabilitative care they need. It’s exciting to see the Governor support a cause that is important to so many families in South Carolina.
PS- March is Brain Injury Awareness Month! If you’d like to contact the Governor about his support of traumatic brain injury patients, please email me.