Urge Gov. Baker to Veto Home Care Worker Registry!!

November 16, 2017
On Wednesday, the Massachusetts Senate passed H. 3821 in its current form which does not include ‘opt-out’ language for workers. The bill requires agencies contracting with ASAPs to report their name, gender, home address, mailing address, employer name, job title and training’s to the State.
Throughout this process, the Alliance and its coalition members have repeatedly raised concerns that disclosure of personal information such as home address and gender to third parties (defined as labor unions, home care agencies, and ASAPs) poses an enormous privacy violation.
In July, the Alliance asked members to request Governor Baker send this legislation back to the legislature with an opt-out provision. The Governor did just that, citing several of the same concerns that we have raised. Unfortunately, both chambers rejected the Governor’s amended language, and only added a victim of sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking amendment that requires workers to disclose these personal experiences to their prospective employer.
Governor Baker has 10 Days to act on H.3821 and we need members to email/call the Governor’s office today urging him to veto this legislation!! Use this alert to email the Governor’s office!!
We also encourage members to call the Governor’s office requesting him to veto H3821 and encouraging him to protect home care workers. To do so call: 617-725-4005 

Alliance Testifies on Home Care Legislation to Committee on Elder Affairs

August 29, 2017

The Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Elder Affairs held a public hearing on July 31, 2017. Several of the bills heard are of interest to home care.

The committee heard testimony on bills relating to:

  • Home Care Licensure/Worker Registries:
    • S.364/H. 341 An Act Strengthening the Massachusetts Home Care Program
    • H. 344 An Act Relative to Consumer Protection and Home Care Services
    • H. 1187 An Act relative to home health and hospice aides
    • H. 2068 An Act Establishing a Home Care Aide Training Registry
    • H. 2889 An Act Strengthening Home Care Services
    • S.343 An Act Establishing a Home Care Aide Training Registry
  • Home Care Workforce Bill (Enough Pay to Stay Initiative)

The Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts and some of its members testified on all of the bills, and you can read that testimony at the links below:

If you have any questions, or would like any further information about these legislative proposals, do not hesitate to reach out to Jake Krilovich at jkrilovich@thinkhomecare.org.


Skilled Nursing Campaign Garners Media Attention

August 9, 2017

This week, the Alliance’s parent-provider skilled nursing campaign received national media coverage. The campaign seeks higher reimbursement rates from MassHealth for continuous skilled nursing services. Currently, agencies are unable to compete for nurses with area hospitals, and has led to a 37% nurse turnover rate, and nearly 24% of MassHealth-Authorized service hours going unfilled.

On Sunday, The Boston Globe featured a front-page story into the life of one of the parents caring for a child in the Massachusetts Continuous Skilled Nursing Program. Noelia Ferreira has gone over 100 days without a skilled nurse coming to her home to care for her daughter Abi. The article beautifully explains Noelia’s struggles to find adequate care and her commitment to keeping Abi safe at home.

As a result of this front page feature, WGBH invited Noelia and MA Pediatric Home Nursing Care Campaign founder, Angela Ortiz, to be interviewed by host, Jim Braude. Footage of the interview can be viewed here.

The campaign is leveraging this exposure to raise awareness and momentum in our fight for adequate reimbursement rates. Please visit www.mychildcantwait.com to write or call Governor Baker urging action.


New 2017-2018 Monthly Aide Webinar Schedule Announced

June 27, 2017

Why Participate? An investment in staff education is an investment in quality customer service for all types of agencies. For home health and hospice agencies, these hour-long webinars can be used to help meet the 12 hours per year educational requirements under the Medicare Conditions of Participation. For all providers, an educational investment in your staff pays off in quality care!

July 13, 2017
TOPIC: The Aide’s Role in Falls Prevention Risks
Speaker: Cheryle Atwater, PT
Description: Statistics show that 30% of those greater than 65 years old fall each year; and, one- half (50%) of those will suffer multiple falls. Emergent care due to injuries secondary to falls is one of the most frequently occurring adverse events reported for our home health population. This session will explore the risk factors contributing to falls and methods for identifying and addressing these factors by in home aides, in collaboration with other members of the interdisciplinary team.

August 10, 2017
TOPIC: The Aide’s Role in Cultural Diversity
Speaker: Kathie Smith, RN
Description: The United States has long been seen as a “melting pot” of people from many countries and cultures; this diversity will continue to increase. Misunderstandings caused by lack of cultural sensitivity and skills can lead to poor interaction with patients and their families. This webinar will cover basic principles of cultural diversity understanding in patient care.

September 14, 2017
TOPIC: The Aide’s Role in Quality Improvement Activities
Speaker: Heather Jones, MPH, CHES, COS-C
Description: What is QAPI? This session will describe the requirement for home health and hospice agencies to conduct Quality Assessment and Performance Improvement (QAPI) activities including a family satisfaction survey. How your agency performs on these measures is available to the public. In-home aides will learn how they play a role in supporting QAPI.

October 12, 2017
TOPIC: The Aide’s Role in Maintaining Professional Boundaries
Speaker: Cindy Morgan, RN, MSN, CHC, CHPN
Description: During this presentation the participant will discover: the meaning of professional boundaries, and the importance of maintaining professional boundaries. We will identify some red flags or indicators that give warning to boundary issues and strategies to prevent boundary issues.

November 9, 2017
TOPIC: The Aide’s Role in Communication & Conflict Resolution in the Workplace
Speaker: Kathie Smith, RN
Description: Basic principles of communication include verbal and non-verbal communication. We are communicating, even when we are not using words, with our body language. This webinar will cover communication skills and ways to communicate to help with conflict resolution such as effective listening; self-management; self-awareness and how emotions affect communication.

December 14, 2017
TOPIC: The Aide’s Role in Understanding Depression
Speaker: Cindy Morgan, RN, MSN, CHC, CHPN
Description: The CDC estimates that one in ten adults in the United States reports depression. About 25 million Americans will have an episode of major depression this year alone but only half of them receive treatment. Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide and represents a public health challenge. This disease may be experienced by people of any age group, any nationality or any socioeconomic level. Many times depression is not detected and therefore goes unmanaged. This presentation will focus on the manifestations of depression that patients may exhibit and the aide’s role in caring for the depressed patient.

January 11, 2018
TOPIC: The Aide’s Role in Recognizing & Reporting Patient Abuse
Speaker: Kathie Smith, RN
Description: According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, every year an estimated 5 million older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. And that’s only part of the picture. Experts believe that for every case of elder abuse or neglect reported as many as 23 cases go unreported. According to the National Children’s Alliance, in 2015, an estimated 1,670 children died from abuse and neglect in the United States. This webinar will provide information on recognizing signs of patient abuse and neglect both for adults and children and the importance of reporting appropriately.

February 8, 2018
TOPIC: The Aide’s Role in Dealing with Combative Dementia Patients
Speakers: John Conrad and Libby Hart, RN
Description: Our aides often notice that some elderly patients demonstrate behaviors that include paranoia, delusions, hallucinations and/or aggression. Each patient with aggressive behavior brings a unique challenge as caregivers attempt to assist with ADL/IADL care in the home. This presentation is intended for aides and caregivers to minimize the risk of injury when providing care for patients with dementia who demonstrate some form of combative behaviors. We will provide education and instructions regarding positions and techniques to avoid physical confrontations with those patients who have the tendency to hit, push, kick, spit or grab those providing care. We will address some of the causes of these combative behaviors and provide valuable tips and techniques to ameliorate each occurrence.

March 8, 2018
TOPIC: The Aide’s Role in Confidentiality and HIPAA
Speaker: Michelle White, MSN, RN
Description: This workshop will focus on assisting your In-Home Aides in understanding HIPAA and confidentiality guidelines. This workshop will offer practical tips to ensure that the para-professional adheres to the required privacy standards. Also included: the impact of social media such as Facebook, My Space, YouTube and cell phones, text messages, etc.

April 12, 2018
TOPIC: The Aide’s Role in Assisting a Patient with Chronic Pain
Speaker: Cindy Morgan, RN, MSN, CHC, CHPN
Description: Our world is aging. The elder population may falsely believe that because they are aging that pain is a normal part of living and is therefore not reported or managed. Since the majority of our patients seen in the home are elderly, this webinar will provide an overview of symptoms the aide may observe and the aide’s role in providing care to those patients experiencing pain.

May 10, 2018
TOPIC: The Aide’s Role in Infection Control in Home Care & Hospice
Speaker: Michelle White, MSN, RN
Description: This workshop will focus on understanding the basic principles of infection prevention and control. This workshop will also focus on Blood Borne Pathogens and the principles surrounding transmission and methods in which the aide can protect themselves and the patient.

June 14, 2018
TOPIC: The Aide’s Role in Enhancing the Patient’s Experience with the Home Care Bill of Rights
Speaker: Sherry Thomas, BSN, MPH
Description: The Patient Bill of Rights (BOR) sets forth requirements that ensure that patients and families are engaged in their home care and have good outcomes and experiences from their services. This webinar will review key BOR areas common to all home care settings that if not met by agency staff most often lead to disgruntled patients, complaints and a surveyor at your agency’s door.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THESE 

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ALL OF OUR UPCOMING PROGRAMS GO TO:

www.thinkhomecare.org/page/education


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.

 

 

 


“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.


Pediatric Home Nursing Shortage Is Subject of TV News Piece

January 27, 2017

Following up on a successful rally and Lobby Day at the StateHouse in early January, the Pediatric Home Nursing Campaign was featured in a piece by John Keller on the Boston WBZ 4 evening news.   Angela Ortiz, the mother of a child with severe medical needs and one of the founders of the family coalition, was interviewed about the nursing shortage and state reimbursement rates that are far below what is needed to attract specialty nurses into home care.  See the full piece here

 

Families Fight For Nursing Care As House Approves Pay Raise For Legislative Leaders

 

To date, more than 30 representatives and senators have signed onto their family Bill of Rights – The Protection Act for the Continuous Skilled Care of Fragile Children in the Commonwealth.  Cosponsors can sign onto the bill through Feb 3.   A message about co-sponsorship can be sent through HCA’s website Advocacy Center.

Ms Ortiz, other members of the coalition, and HCA of MA,  all testified on the need for higher rates before MassHealth on January 20th.


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