Advocacy in Action

PHA Participates in Business Roundtable with Rep. Saylor

PHA Board member and President-Elect, CJ Weaber, and PHA Director of Government Relations, Katie Dotto, participated in a business roundtable with House Republican Appropriations Chairman, Rep. Stan Saylor (R-York). The event drew business leaders from multiple sectors, including a number of health care providers and groups. PHA asked the panel to address the home-based care workforce crisis and the need for higher Medicaid reimbursement rates, and Chairman Saylor spoke about the need to increase rates for home care, noting how critical it is for our aging and disabled populations to continue to access quality care at home.

 

Congressman Mike Kelly’s Staff Visits Lutheran Senior Life VNA, Western PA

Congressman Mike Kelly’s Senior Legislative Assistant, Sam West, visited Lutheran Senior Life VNA, Western Pennsylvania to learn more about in-home health care. The visit included a discussion on telehealth, funding, and the need for federal legislation that creates better access to in-home health care.

PHA CEO Highlights Current Caregiver Crisis on Pittsburgh News Segment

PHA CEO Teri Henning addressed the crisis-level shortage of caregivers and advocated for additional funding and supports during an interview with KDKA, a news station in Pittsburgh.

Since launching our Crisis in Caregiving video in August, PHA has been working with members and other stakeholders to raise awareness about the need for funding and other supports to ensure that providers can attract and retain caregivers, to protect access to quality home-based care for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians.  

PHA will continue our public awareness efforts in 2022. If you have a caregiver or consumer who will share their story, please contact Kim Whetsell at [email protected]

PHA CEO, Members Featured in CNN Article Highlighting Home-Based Care Workforce Shortage

CNN Health recently published an article on the critical shortage of home health aides across the country. The article highlighted Pennsylvania’s current caregiver crisis, and PHA’s CEO, Teri Henning, and members CJ Weaber and Lori Pavic were featured. The article includes data from PHA’s recent workforce survey and emphasizes the stark realities of the caregiver crisis our members are facing.

PHA CEO Highlights Importance of Medicaid Program, Advocates for Additional Support at PA Capitol

PHA CEO Teri Henning, participated in a panel presentation on Medicaid in Pennsylvania. During the panel, PHA and other members of the PA Provider Advocacy Coalition provided an overview of the Medicaid program to members of the General Assembly. The program also addressed the impacts of the COVID-19 public health emergency and ongoing challenges Medicaid providers face. Click here to see the presentation.

PHA Goes to Washington to Advocate for Home-Based Care Funding, Choose Home Act

PHA CEO Teri Henning and Katie Dotto, Director of Government Relations, traveled to Washington, DC to meet with industry leaders from across the country and Pennsylvania’s Congressional Delegation. Topics of discussion included funding for home and community-based services for both Medicare and Medicaid, and the Choose Home Care Act, which would add personal assistance services to the home health benefit following a hospitalization. PHA visited the following offices:

  • Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick
  • Congressman Fred Keller
  • Congressman Mike Kelly
  • Congressman Dan Meuser
  • Congressman Guy Reschenthaler
  • Congressman Lloyd Smucker
  • Congressman GT Thompson

PHA’s legislative priorities were well received, and Henning and Dotto reminded congressional staff and members of the delegation of the many opportunities to support an industry that has been challenged by the pandemic and long before.

PHA Government Relations Director Testifies on Workforce Crisis

PHA Director of Government Relations, Katie Dotto, testified before the House Majority Policy Committee regarding workforce shortages specific to the health care system. The hearing, hosted at Penn State Hershey Medical’s Life Lion hangar, was organized by State Rep. Tom Mehaffie (R-Dauphin) to provide a platform for health care providers struggling to maintain necessary staffing levels to discuss challenges and solutions to best meet patient and consumer needs. Dotto addressed the workforce challenges home-based care faced providers prior to the pandemic and explained that a chronic lack of funding only exacerbated the issue when COVID-19 arrived. PHA’s written testimony can be found here, and the video of the testimony can be viewed here.

PHA CEO Testifies on Vaccine Distribution

PHA CEO Teri Henning testified before the PA House Committee on Aging and Older Adult Services on COVID-19 vaccine distribution issues facing home-based care providers. Henning emphasized challenges in accessing vaccine, the role that home care providers could play in identifying and administering vaccine to homebound individuals, and concerns about vaccine hesitancy. Click here to read her testimony.

PHA Board Member Testifies Before Philadelphia City Council on Racial, Socioeconomic, and Ableist Disparities During COVID-19

PHA Board Member, Bryant Greene, testified before the Philadelphia City Council on the current racial, socioeconomic, and ableist disparities surrounding the ongoing coronavirus public health emergency. Greene discussed social determinants of health that have left minority populations at a disadvantage during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, he addressed the dynamic needs of individuals with disabilities and the current shortcomings of guidance to adequately address these needs and considerations. Greene also called attention the disproportionate number of minorities serving as part of the essential workforce and the lack of safety and social supports for direct care workers on the frontlines during COVID-19. Click here to read his testimony. 

PHA Members Meet with House Aging and Older Adult Services Chairman to Discuss Homecare Industry

PHA members met with House Aging and Older Adult Services Chairman Gary Day (R-Berks), who recently took over as Chair of the committee. Collan Rosier and Rob Schmitz of Maxim Healthcare and Donna Buhosky of Bayada Home Health Care joined PHA Staff members Teri Henning and Katie Dotto to speak with the new Chair about the homecare industry and to discuss legislative issues and priorities.

PHA Member Testifies at House Aging Hearing

PHA member Tatia Cooper, President and CEO of Home Care Associates, testified on behalf of PHA at the House Aging and Older Adults Services Committee in New Hope. This pubic meeting was held to discuss elder abuse and a proposed package of legislation that aims to protect seniors. Cooper urged lawmakers to utilize PHA as a resource for conversation on the Older Adult Protective Services Act (OAPSA) and emphasized the need to address the critical workforce shortage for direct care workers. Click here to read her testimony. 

PHA Board Member Testifies at House Hearing on ADA & Homecare

PHA Board Member Bryant Greene, Always Best Care Senior Services, testified on behalf of PHA at a House Democratic Policy Committee in Philadelphia. The meeting focused on more comprehensive approaches to strengthen the ADA and ensure accessibility to services, equal rights and equal opportunities for all Pennsylvanians living with disabilities. Click here to read the complete testimony.

  

PHA Members Speak Up at Sen. Casey Town Hall Meeting

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) hosted a town hall meeting in the Lehigh Valley, and PHA members did not miss the opportunity to talk to the senator about one of our biggest federal legislative priorities: legislation to make changes to PDGM, the new home health payment model which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2020. PHA members Lisa Giovanni, RN, MSN, President, VNA of St. Luke's Home Health & Hospice, Inc., and Michael Brown, RN, Vice President of Quality and Standards, Preferred Home Health Care & Nursing Services, joined PHA staff to ask Sen. Casey for his support of this legislation, which would use observed evidence of provider behaviors to adjust payments rather than assumptions. Sen. Casey agreed about the importance of receiving care at home, and said he will look further into this issue.

HomePAC Supports Sen. Ryan Aument

PHA CEO Teri Henning and Government Relations Director Katie Dotto attended a fundraiser for state Sen. Ryan Aument (R-36) on behalf of HomePAC. Sen. Aument is the newest member of the Pennsylvania State Senate Republican Leadership team. As Caucus Secretary he is charged with recording caucus meetings where discussions about major policy decisions take place, as well assisting the Majority Leader in various capacities. Coming into the General Assembly as a member of the State House of Representatives in 2010, Sen. Aument quickly earned the respect of his peers. He won election to the Senate in 2014. He is a firm believer in creating economic opportunities for citizens through free enterprise and is expected to experience continued success in office.   

PHA Members Meet with Congresswoman Wild to Discuss Care at Home

On Feb. 22, representatives from PHA member agencies and PHA CEO Vicki Hoak met with U.S. Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA 7th District), newly elected to Congress in November, in her home district in Bethlehem.

During the informal meet and greet, the group discussed issues impacting homecare and federal legislation of importance to the industry, such as The Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA). The group also encouraged the House to introduce legislation that would refine home health payment through the Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM) to ensure behavioral-based payment adjustments are rooted in evidence and observed data.

Photo from left: Heather Fotopoulos, Bayada; Michelle Udicious, St. Luke’s Home Health & Hospice; Rep. Wild; PHA CEO Vicki Hoak (back row); Mike Brown, Preferred Home Health Care; Megan Saraceno, Bayada (back row); Michael Detweiler, Bayada. 

Senior Support Coalition Hosts Breakfast for Legislators

Members of the Senior Support Coalition, including PHA, hosted a breakfast on Feb. 5 for new legislators and committee chairs. More than 25 legislators attended to learn more about protecting older adults in Pennsylvania. Other members of the Senior Support Coalition include AARP, Alzheimer’s Association of PA, Center for the Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly, PA Association of Area Agencies on Aging, PA Adult Day Services Association, and PA Association for Senior Centers. Photos – Left: PHA COO Jennifer Haggerty talks with Rep. Thomas Murt (R-Montgomery), majority chair of the House Aging and Older Adult Services Committee. Right: PHA CEO Vicki Hoak meets with Rep. Joseph Webster (D-Montgomery) (left) and Rep. Joseph Hohenstein (D-Philadelphia) (right).

Three PHA Member Agencies Highlight Home-Based Care for Legislators

Recently, Clarion Forest VNA, Visiting Angels, York, and UPMC Susquehanna Home Care & Hospice invited their local legislators into the homes of three consumers. State Rep. Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion) (kneeling in photo to left) visited a patient of Clarion Forest VNA in late December; State Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming) visited a patient with UPMC Susquehanna Home Care & Hospice; and State Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) (kneeling on left in photo to right) visited a client of Visiting Angels, York. All three visits were a great opportunity for the state lawmakers to learn more about homecare and why it is so important to those who receive the care.

Legislators Attend Deer Meadows Veterans Library Dedication

PHA Board Member Stanley A Rynkiewicz III, RN, MSN, WCC, DWC, CCS, NHA, recently spearheaded an effort to create the Bernard Stepanski Veteran’s Library at Deer Meadows Retirement Community. Several legislators, including state Sen. John Sabatina (D-Philadelphia) (left) and state Rep. John Taylor (R-Philadelphia), participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony to commemorate the grand opening of the library, in memory of Stepanski, a World War II Army veteran who fought in the Battle of Manila in the Philippines.