Pediatric Home Nursing Campaign Gains Media Attention

May 19, 2017

Nursing Shortage 050917

North Attelboro resident Carole Darrah her daughter Grace, along with nurse Judy Blanchard, were one of a number a families featured in media coverage in the past week about efforts to raise MassHealth payment rates for Continuous Skilled Nursing Services to very medically complex children and your adults.

According to the Sun Chronicle story:

“Grace was born with Trisomy 9 Mosaic, a rare chromosomal abnormality that left Grace in need of continual care. She wasn’t supposed to make it to her first birthday, but after four months in the neonatal intensive care unit, she was able to go home — with the promise that a state-funded home care nurse would assist the Darrahs in the day-to-day care of their daughter.

So far, Carole Darrah says, that promise has only been partly true.

The Darrahs are authorized for 56 nursing hours a week through MassHealth, which funds various amounts of home medical care based on each family’s needs. But in five years the Darrahs have only been able to fill 40 hours at most, leaving the rest of Grace’s medical care on them. Carole Darrah has had to quit her full-time job and sacrifices sleep and alone time for her daughter’s health. She and her husband haven’t had time alone since they left the hospital five years ago.”

There are approximately 900 families in the Commonwealth who are qualified for nursing services through this program.   Their stories are all similar to the Darrah’s and were featured in this news pieces:

Senator Barbara L’Italien has filed a Senate budget amendment (#512) that would provide $4.5 million for increases to this program.  While it is a long way from the $14 million, that the families and the agencies believe is needed to make their salaries competitive in the market, it is an important start.

HCA of MA working with the family led Pediatric Home Nursing Coalition and members agencies to secure this funding.

 

 

 


Talking Home Care Episode 2: Tim Rowan on New Tech All Agencies Need

May 15, 2017

Tim Rowan of <a href="http://homecaretechreport.com/" target="_blank">www.homecaretechreport.com</a>.In the second episode of Talking Home Care, Pat Kelleher talks with Tim Rowan, editor of the Home Care Technology Report. Topics include:

  • The (continuing) implications of the Affordable Care Act;
  • How even smaller agencies can benefit from use new, video-based telehealth;
  • How technology can help you compete for business from accountable care organizations; and
  • How predictive analytics can improve patient outcomes.

You may directly download the podcast here (Length: 21’23”; Size: 10.3 MB).

Host: Patricia Kelleher, Executive Director of the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts.

Guest: Tim Rowan, Editor of the Home Care Technology Report. You can also follow Tim at: www.rowanresources.com, and www.rowanreputationresources.com. Alternatively, you can text  “homecaretech” to 22828.

To subscribe to this podcast, enter the following field in your podcast app: https://thinkhomecare.wordpress.com/category/talking-home-care-podcast/feed/. We hope to have the feed available in the iTunes store shortly.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

 


Advocacy Alert: Budget Amendment to Ensure Access for Medically Complex Patients

April 21, 2017

Please send your legislators a message urging them to sign onto Representative Paul Donato’s budget amendment #769 which would provide funds to increase the pay of these nurses and ensure that our most medically complex citizens have access to the care they need.

Take Action Here

Issue Background: The Massachusetts Continuous Skilled Nursing program provides in-home skilled nursing care to support and keep people with medically complex needs safe at home. While MassHealth has recently proposed a very small increase to the rates for this service, the increase does nMA-State-Houseot make up for more than ten years with no increases.

Home care providers find that they are increasingly unable to compete with hospitals and other facilities for nurses; as a result,  hours of needed and authorized care are going undelivered,  leaving the patients vulnerable to expensive hospitalizations.

In 2016,  home health providers reported a 37% turnover rate of  their nurses, 53% of them left for higher pay at hospitals.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

 


Advocacy Alert: Budget Amendment to Support Home Care Workforce

April 21, 2017

MA-State-HouseWhile demand for home based health and supportive care continues to grow in Massachusetts, the home care industry struggles to recruit and retain essential front line caregivers. New data collected last fall through a survey of home care agencies that contract with the state’s Aging Service Access Points (ASAPs) found that on average 25% of a home care agency’s direct care workforce changes every three months leading to intense instability within the organization.

Please click the link below to write or call your Representatives urging them to sign onto Representative Aaron Vega’s amendment #148 which begins to address the underlying causes for the growing home care worker shortage in Massachusetts and takes steps to assure that their will be workers to meet the demand.

Take Action Here

Massachusetts has been successful at rebalancing the long-term care system, and appropriately diverting consumers from nursing facilities to community care. Between FY12 and FY16, MassHealth has experienced a -5.8% reduction in annual bed days. The movement of care from nursing homes to the community has not been been met with the necessary reinvestments in workforce to ensure the workforce is available to support consumers in need of services. MassHealth has not raised the rate of reimbursement for a home health aide in almost a decade.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.


Talking Home Care Episode 1: Tim Ashe Previews the State of the State of the Industry

April 14, 2017

The Home Care Alliance is pleased to announce its new podcast series, Talking Home Care. In our first episode, Pat Kelleher talks with Tim Ashe about Fazzi Associates’ upcoming “National Home Care and Hospice State of the Industry Study,” a nationwide survey of more than 700 home care and hospice agencies.

Topics they discuss include: Telehealth, point-of-care technology, Medicare & Medicaid reimbursements, and becoming an “invincible” agency. The report is expected to be published later this month and will be available both from Fazzi and the Alliance.

You may directly download the podcast here.

Host: Patricia Kelleher, Executive Director of the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts

Guest: Tim Ashe, Partner, Director of Operational Consulting Fazzi Associates

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.


2017 Resource Directories Available!

March 1, 2017

2017-coverThousands of copies of the the Alliance’s primary referral directory have already been shipped to Alliance members, as well as every case manager, hospital, COA, state legislator, and GCMs in Massachusetts.

This year, the Allied & Individual Members section has been re-organized by category to help members find the goods and services they need from vendors they can trust.

Need an copy? They’re available for purchase on our website, as always, with free shipping.

Alternatively, you can also use the Digital Edition of the directory, as well as our online Find an Agency search.

This is the one, indispensable book that anyone making referrals must have. It’s the bible for home care in Massachusetts. — Gina Martin, RN, BSN, BA, M Ed, CCM

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.


“Enough Pay to Stay” – A Home Care Workforce Initiative Kicks off Monday in NUrses Hall

February 24, 2017

Three of the largest trade associations representing 56,000 agency-based home care workers in Massachusetts have joined forces in an effort to assure that there will be a sufficient supply of home care workers in the Commonwealth to meet the needs of our aging population. Home Care Aides are #2 and Home Health Aides are #3 on the US Department of Labor’s list of the Fastest Growing Occupations in our nation between 2012 and 2022.

This new workforce initiative “Enough Pay To Stay,” sponsored by Mass Home Care, the Home Care Aide Council of Massachusetts, and the Home Care Alliance of MA , seeks an investment of $10.2 million to upgrade the rates paid for home care aides, home health aides, and care managers. These workers allow the elderly and disabled citizens to successfully  ‘age in place’ at home. The home care industry has suffered  from low wage/ high worker turnover for years.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage for a home care aide is $13.05, and the average home health aide makes $13.78  an hour. Turnover rates for these workers range from 20% to 60% annually. Rates paid by MassHealth to purchase home health aide services for some of the state’s have been frozen since 2007.These workers provide more than 2 million hours of care per year

The coalition is filing a budget request and new legislation for rate reform.

Here is the language for the budget request,  to be filed by Representative Aaron Vega (D-Holyoke):

“           9110-1635 For adjustments to rates and capitations for home and community based services provided through line items 9110-1500, 9110-1630,9110-1633, and 4000-0600; provided further that $2,766,000 shall be provided for an add on to established capitations  in the 9110-1633 and 9110-1500 accounts; provided further that $3,000,000 shall be provided for an adjustment to approved program rates issued under 1line item 9110-1630 to provide a rate add-on for wages, compensation and/or salary related costs for personnel providing homemaker and personal care homemaker services; and provided further that $4,500,000 shall be provided for adjusting rates for home health aide services funded through line item 4000-0600 for the purpose of providing Title XIX services.                                                                                   $10,266,000        

Join  us in  Nurses Hall at 11 or contact your local representative for support.


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