HCA continues daily outreach and advocacy efforts with state, county, local and hospital-based regional planning officials to ensure that the COVID-19 vaccine is made available to home care and hospice staff as the state adjusts its vaccine rollout amid supply shortages.
HCA is extending the deadline for home care providers to complete our finance and trends survey. The survey, originally due today, is now due by close of business one week from today (on January 19).
Throughout the past week — a time when home care and hospice workers were included among phase 1a priority workers — HCA compiled and circulated to members a series of spreadsheets with links for accessing the COVID-19 vaccine in addition to the state and city vaccine appointment pages.
While health care workers remain a priority (including, specifically, home care and hospice), the Governor on Friday announced the expansion of vaccine priority to phase 1b, which includes certain other essential workers and individuals age 75 and older. Continue reading “Vaccine Update: Governor Opens Eligibility to Phase 1b as HCA Continues to Provide Critical Resources for Home Care and Hospice”
“Home care and hospice workers are now part of the pool of New Yorkers eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” reports Home Health Care News on January 10, 2021. “This development didn’t just happen overnight. In fact, it was the result of a significant push from New York home-based care associations, Roger Noyes, director of communications at the Home Care Association of New York State (HCA-NYS), told Home Health Care News.”
Yesterday, HCA shared information about vaccination sites and appointment scheduling. Several county health departments have also begun posting vaccination information. All of this is compiled in a new series of spreadsheets on our COVID-19 resource page to further assist in your effort to facilitate staff vaccinations. Please also be sure to review the state and city vaccine eligibility sites.
While not all county agencies are actively vaccinating at this time, many are doing so, and this information is constantly changing.
HCA has some new information to support home care and hospice staff vaccinations for the week 4 prioritization schedule and ongoing vaccination effort. Continue reading “Vaccine Logistics, Resources and Member Zoom Meeting on 1/13”
Vaccine scheduling information now posted to our COVID-19 page. Please bookmark this site and check it regularly for updates.
Following HCA’s daily and continuous outreach to officials at all levels of the statewide vaccination effort, the state Department of Health (DOH) last night revised its guidance to move up the schedule for home care and hospice worker vaccination.
According to the new guidance, home care and hospice workers are now included in the week 4 vaccine prioritization schedule this week (beginning January 4).
On January 2, the state Department of Health (DOH) posted guidance that, for the first time, specifically identifies home care and hospice staff as a priority group to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Continue reading “DOH Includes Home Care and Hospice Workers in Vaccine Distribution Guidance “
HCA continues to seek clarity and advocate for prioritization of home care and hospice in the statewide vaccination roll out.
Complicating the consistency of information is the fact that statewide logistics appear to have been substantially delegated to ten regional planning hubs, also known as Regional Advisory Task Force (RATF) coalitions, led mostly by hospitals. A list of all ten hubs is provided on the Governor’s website here. Continue reading “HCA Continues Pressing Home Care, Hospice Vaccine Prioritization with Commissioner, Regional Task Force Coalitions “
While the COVID-19 vaccine rollout for all health care personnel and patients remains fluid, HCA wanted to provide members with a status update on our several recent advocacy efforts, deliberations, and briefings with New York City, regional, and state vaccination planners. Continue reading “COVID-19 Vaccine Planning Update for Home Care, Hospice “
The December 2020 edition of HCA’s Capitol Report includes several features for state legislators and policymakers, including: a COVID-19 vaccination resolution from HCA’s Board of Directors; fiscal implications of the recent federal stimulus package and its absence of state and local aid; a reminder about home care’s role in wintertime emergency preparedness following the mid-December nor’easter; and a new grant to HCA that will expand our work on sepsis screening, prevention and intervention.
New DOH Vaccine Website
New York State has launched a new website dedicated to COVID-91 vaccine information. It includes information about the vaccine, the state’s distribution plan, safety measures, the process for providers to order the vaccine, frequently asked questions, and more. Continue reading “COVID-19 Briefs for December 21, 2020”
ALBANY – The Board of Directors of the Home Care Association of New York State (HCA) has unanimously adopted a resolution urging home care and hospice provider vaccination efforts for COVID-19. Continue reading “NY Home Care Association Board Unanimously Adopts Resolution Urging Provider Vaccination Efforts for COVID-19”
On Friday, HCA reported to members about our meeting with New York City immunization officials who confirmed that home care and hospice workers would be included in phase one of the city’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout. Continue reading “NYC Includes Home Care in Phase I Vaccine Rollout, as HCA and Partners Urge Gov. to Do Likewise Statewide “
The Governor last night issued Executive Order No. 202.82 with new flexibilities related to COVID-19 and influenza testing and vaccination. Continue reading “New Executive Order Offers Flexibilities on Testing, Vaccination”
Updated Zone Metrics, Hospital Directives and Business Guidelines
Last week, Governor Cuomo announced new metrics by which micro-cluster focus zones will be determined to help control COVID-19 spread and protect hospital capacity. Continue reading “Updated Zone Metrics and Other COVID-19 Briefs for December 14, 2020”
HCA today spoke with New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH) immunization officials about logistics for COVID-19 vaccination of home care and hospice workers.
Notably, in response to our ongoing emphasis about home care’s vital patient care role, the city is including home care workers in phase I of its plan, along with other phase I workers (in hospitals and nursing homes) in New York City, consistent with advisory recommendations made at the federal level.
HCA has received confirmation from the state Department of Health (DOH) that home care providers who intend to receive and administer COVID-19 vaccine should prepare now by enrolling in the state’s vaccine program for providers outside of New York City. A separate process is in place for New York City providers.
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH) has removed the requirement that agencies serving NYC must have less than one week of personal protective equipment (PPE) in order to request PPE from the city’s PPE Service Center. Continue reading “NYC Removes Requirement That Home Care Providers Have Less Than 1 Week of PPE Before Ordering from City Stockpile”
The state Department of Health (DOH) has issued a 20-minute survey here for all health care providers on provider experiences using telehealth during the COVID-19 State of Emergency. The survey is due December 15.
The November 2020 edition of Capitol Report includes several features for state legislators and policymakers, including: new videos from public officials recognizing National Home Care Month, a pioneering hospital-home care collaboration model, recent support for HCA’s COVID-19 testing initiative, a new HCA social services initiative for veterans, and research showing that 94 percent of hospital patients discharged to home care saw functional improvements after suffering from COVID-19.
The Governor and state Health Commissioner have requested all county health departments to establish plans for COVID-19 testing and immunization capabilities.
Yesterday, this request was given a major signal for county health officials to work with home care agencies on these efforts, equipped by HCA’s training program.
Sarah Ravenhall, Executive Director of the New York State Association of County Health Officials (NYSACHO), joined HCA President Al Cardillo in a letter to all county health commissioners whose departments oversee the local public health response to COVID-19. Together they urge commissioners to look to home care agencies as a critical partner and resource that can assist with county-level COVID-19 testing capacity through in-home specimen collection. Continue reading “NYSACHO to County Health Commissioners: Include Home Care in Your Partnerships on COVID-19 Testing, Equipped by HCA Training “
HCA Education and Research (E&R) is pleased to present Best Clinical and Operational Practices in COVID and Beyond, a grant-funded online learning series curated by HCA E&R under a grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation.
These 24/7, on-demand webinars are free of charge. They provide model insights and innovations pioneered by home and community-based providers. Our faculty include home and community care clinicians, operational leaders, and executives covering a range of clinical and operational topics.
The state Department of Health (DOH) has recently updated its state Medicaid billing guidance to explain how Certified Home Health Agencies (CHHA) can bill for COVID-19 specimen collection under fee-for-service Medicaid.
It describes steps and protocols to ensure the safe and efficient distribution and administration of vaccine to New York residents. The document includes: guidelines and vaccine planning considerations; measures to ensure vaccine safety; a vaccine prioritization matrix; a distribution and delivery process; training and support of providers administering the vaccine; data and IT infrastructure to coordinate and monitor the program; public education and community outreach; and a budget and procurement process. A Vaccine Central Command Center is proposed to manage the entire vaccine program.
During National Home Care Month, in November, the Home Care Association of New York State (HCA) recognizes thirty exceptional individuals as part of our Home Care Heroes campaign.
Each Hero was nominated by a home care or hospice agency in many regions of New York State. HCA has created an individualized profile link telling each person’s story with a picture. Please see links to all 30 individuals here: http://nationalhomecaremonth.com/home-care-heroes.
“During the COVID-19 health emergency, thousands of home care and hospice aides, nurses and therapists marshaled their unique skills and capacity for caring to help patients amid new fears, anxieties and intensified needs,” said HCA President Al Cardillo. “Their contributions to the pandemic response are nothing short of miraculous, in large part because their great work has exemplified what home care always accomplishes, during ordinary times, to address countless individual needs and urgencies.” Continue reading “For National Home Care Month, HCA Recognizes 30 Aides, Nurses and Therapists Who Are Home Care Heroes”
In late September and early October, HCA conducted our third survey of the industry to determine home care and hospice provider experiences in the ongoing public health emergency following the springtime surge and in anticipation of additional surges. The results are compiled in a Phase III COVID-19 Survey: Summary of Impact on Home and Community-Based Entities, Staff and Patients in New York State.
This third survey (Phase III) was completed on October 14, 2020, netting responses from 77 respondent organizations serving the home and community-based care needs of New Yorkers.
It examines the latest workforce, referral, access and fiscal impacts of the public health emergency on home and community-based care as well as trends like telehealth use as a means of protecting patients and staff and expanding access.
Both houses of Congress have introduced legislation that would provide Medicare reimbursement to home health agencies that deliver audio and video telehealth services during COVID-19. This is a major priority.
Today, we ask that you use our online Legislative Action Center to write New York’s Senators and your Member of Congress to pass this critical bill. It takes less than a minute to do.
As we note in our Action Center campaign, “this technology is vital in the pandemic. It extends home care’s reach to patients who are socially isolated, anxious, and in need of more complex services, especially the growing number of patients discharged from hospitals to home care with severe post-COVID-19 care needs.”
We also cite recent HCA data collected in a survey of providers showing that the number of home health providers having to turn to telehealth in the pandemic has doubled, from 22 percent of providers before the pandemic to 46 percent today, yet there’s no Medicare reimbursement to support this service.
Thank you to all of the providers who answered this survey, which supports key advocacy messaging.
Please act on this advocacy messaging today, and urge your staff to do the same.
Please join HCA and home care labor law expert Emina Poricanin for a webinar on Monday, October 26 (at 1 p.m.) where she’ll provide an update on the state’s Paid Sick Leave law.
The state law requires employers with five or more employees to provide their employees with paid sick and safe leave. Businesses with fewer than five employees and a net income of $1 million or less must provide unpaid sick and safe leave to employees.
Poricanin will explain the law’s implications for home care providers so that your organization can develop leave policies and practices for 2021, ensuring compliance. She’ll specifically cover highlights of new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) posted earlier this week by the state Department of Labor.
Pat Northrup is a #HomeCareHero. Read her story.
Pat Northrup is a specialist on the Cardiac Care team at Lifetime Care-Rochester Regional Home Care in Rochester NY who took the lead in caring for patients diagnosed with COVID-19.
The pandemic posed many challenges for all health care providers. PPE mandates and other practice guidance changed rapidly. Pat stepped up and managed the first patient in the area who transitioned from hospital-based care to home health care.
From the outset, she established standards of excellence while maintaining the health and safety of the patient, their family and home care staff members. Her commitment, willingness and experience guided the care of this patient and helped the agency outline lasting care-planning and best-practice standards.
She provides first-class patient care and education in a straight-forward approach. Her sense of humor puts patients at ease, so they can better absorb information, learn yo care for themselves and protect their loved ones while remaining encouraged and calm during their recovery period.
Pat continues to provide exceptional care to patients who have significant cardiac issues either predating this diagnosis or as a result of contracting COVID-19, making her a #HomeCareHero.
The state Department of Health (DOH) has posted two Dear Administrator Letters (DALs) for home care and hospice agencies on the status of various emergency regulations.
Register today for an October 16 Zoom presentation to learn how your home care, hospice or MLTC organization can onboard patients/clients so they can connect to the Statewide Virtual Senior Center (VSC).
The session, from 11 a.m. to noon, will be hosted by HCA Education and Research (HCA E&R) and Selfhelp Community Services, building on an introductory webinar that we held in July.
To register for the October 16 Zoom session, just complete the online form here and HCA E&R will e-mail you a Zoom link on the morning of the program so that you can connect to the discussion.
In the September 2020 edition of HCA’s Capitol Report newsletter, HCA sums up testimony delivered by HCA President Al Cardillo during a legislative hearing on COVID-19, highlighting home care’s response to patients’ needs, as well as systemic challenges that have impeded this vital work.
We also highlight Sepsis Awareness Month, including an HCA interview on WNYT NewChannel 13’s Health Beat program, plus HCA’s work to promote pre- and post-acute partnerships among hospitals and home care as part of our “Statewide Hospital-Home Care Collaborative for COVID-19 and Beyond.”
Plus, a recent report on home care shortages helps explain the importance of reforms to help build capacity in the current pandemic, including a recent move by the state Department of Health to permit an online component to aide training programs.
The state Senate has passed a resolution recognizing September 2020 as Sepsis Awareness Month in the State of New York.
HCA, our Stop Sepsis at Home NY screening initiative, and allied partners recognize and greatly appreciate this action initiated by the Senate’s Health Committee Chairman Senator Gustavo Rivera.
Our partners at Sepsis Alliance are working to achieve similar resolutions in all 50 states, and HCA is proud to be part of efforts to put New York State in that number as we work alongside other leading advocacy and awareness organizations like End Sepsis: The Legacy of Rory Staunton. Continue reading “Sepsis Month: Senate Resolution, NYSOFA PR, Plus HCR, VNSNY & Americare Features”
New York City (NYC) has been working to compile an emergency stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) for home care and other health care providers that service NYC in the event that there is a COVID-19 resurgence.
To streamline the product request process, NYC is partnering with Medline to support the requesting and delivery process. Once in effect, this will replace the system that HCA and the New York State Association of Health Care Providers (HCP) worked out with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH) whereby some of our members devoted much time and resources to serve as distribution sites for PPE furnished by the City for home care providers in all boroughs. Continue reading “NYC PPE Stockpile Information Released”
Julie Howe is a #HomeCareHero. Read her story.
#HomeCareHeroes like Julie Howe are the eyes and ears for potential environmental health or safety risks in a patient’s home.
Julie, an assessment clinician for Rochester Regional Lifetime Care, was performing an evaluation and smelled gas. Both the patient and their caregivers did not smell the odor. The patient and family did not feel it was a big deal.
Julie took the patient for a walk outside the apartment and, upon returning, the patient acknowledged the odor and Julie was able to convince the patient and caregiver of the safety risk. She helped facilitate a call to 911 and to the local gas company which discovered two gas leaks that were repaired later the same day. The patient and family were extremely thankful.
Julie Howe is a #homecarehero who assesses and evaluates her patients on a daily basis. These skills keep her attuned to all potential risks in a patient’s home environment some of them dangerous and potentially life threatening so they can be addressed immediately.
Shelly Falbo is a #HomeCareHero. Read her story.
Speech Therapist Shelly Falbo has been an incredibly resourceful and knowledgably advocate for her patients at Rochester Regional Lifetime Care.
Working with a patient who has ALS and relies on a ventilator, Shelly researched novel tools like a tobii dynavox communication platform that allows her patient to communicate, text, operate a TV, and more using eye gaze.
Backup generators are a vital emergency planning resource for people who need ventilators. But this patient did not have the means to purchase one, requiring a trip to the emergency department every time there was a power outage.
Shelly explored some options. She reached out to Shades of Greatness Inc., a philanthropic organization founded by former Buffalo Bills Running Back LeSean McCoy (whose grandmother had ALS), to procure a generator for this patient’s home.
Shelly consistently demonstrates a very high level of care to her patients and their families. She is a #HomeCareHero.
In a September 3 presentation, we introduced hospitals and home care providers to the HCA-HANYS-IHA “Statewide Hospital-Home Care Collaborative for COVID-19 and Beyond.”
As part of this program, we are offering seven upcoming webinars free of charge for all hospital and home care organizations in New York State. Continue reading “Free Series: 7 Hospital-Home Care Collaboration Models for Improved Patient Care”
Online registration is now open for HCA’s Senior Financial Managers Retreat, our signature finance program for CHHAs, LHCSAs, hospice and MLTC.
While the retreat (on September 15 & 16) was originally planned for the Mohonk Mountain Resort in New Paltz, New York, we have transitioned to a virtual live event this year that will be broadcast through Crowdcast to any location using your computer, tablet or smart phone.
Karla Germano is a #HomeCareHero. Read her story.
While most people are watching TV, getting ready to enjoy their weekend or sleeping, Karla Germano is responding to urgent calls from patients in need.
In her role as the weekend overnight on-call nurse for Lifetime Care of Rochester Regional Health, Karla is prepared for anything a day or night may bring. She collaborates with members of the patient care team and often contacts providers to enable her patients to remain safely at home, avoiding a hospital admission.
COVID-19 has added to the anxieties of patients and families. In this environment, no one wants to go to the hospital unless absolutely necessary, and Karla does everything possible to avoid that outcome by working closely with doctors to provide patient-specific treatment in the home.
In one instance, Karla was called to see a patient who was rapidly declining. The patient did not want to go to the hospital and the family wanted to respect her wishes; they had recently endured a long separation while she was previously in the hospital, followed by several more weeks in a nursing home for rehab.
Karla was able to work with the doctor to obtain an order for fluids, arrange pharmacy delivery on a Saturday night and work with other members of the team to coordinate needed services at home.
Karla does it all with a smile, providing reassurance and encouragement to anyone who comes across her path.
Melissa Distler is a #HomeCareHero. Read her story.
In the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Melissa Distler provided very thoughtful and instrumental suggestions in caring for patients suffering from the illness.
Melissa was an integral part of creating a process that her agency, Lifetime Care-Rochester Regional Health, has since adopted when seeing all COVID-19 positive patients.
Her recommendations have allowed not only for staff to remain safe during the visit, but these procedures have also protected patients and families by more efficiently delivering care with the least amount of time in the patient's home while continuing to provide the exceptional care that they need.
Cliff Reichner is a #HomeCareHero. Read his story.
Cliff Reichner is a caring and dedicated certified occupational therapy assistant who goes above and beyond in every therapy session.
In order to engage a medically complex population at St. Mary's Hospital for Children Home Care, Cliff was able to think outside the box when it came to teletherapy for kids.
He captured everyone’s interest with his warm personality and creative ideas for a fun therapy session which included music, costumes and games. During the daily therapy sessions, Cliff would dress up as different animals or characters and use music and games to target their skills.
The patients started to look forward to what Cliff would do next and so he began to drop off themed props at patient homes so they could participate in the session more effectively.
Cliff’s creativity and dedication gave him the capacity to deliver exciting and engaging therapy sessions and bring joy to children during such an uncertain time.
Billy Campbell is a #HomeCareHero. Read his story.
As Billy Campbell, a physical therapist with the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, lay in a hospital bed with COVID-19 a few months ago, he fought the disease with the same determination that he brings to his work caring for New Yorkers every day and it worked.
Today, Billy is back on the front lines caring for patients again. But in the dark days of April he depended on a ventilator to breathe yet even then, he found a way to focus not only on his own health, but on the health of others as well.
“The nurses were impressed that I was in bed doing exercises,” says Billy. “I was making my roommates sit up on the edge of the bed. We did breathing exercises together, and I was telling them the importance of standing up and sitting down a few times to keep yourself moving as opposed to just sitting there dying.”
Billy would go on to lose about 50 pounds and 50 percent of his lung capacity over the course of his convalescence.
“All the doctors tell me I shouldn't be here,” says Billy, who was in excellent physical shape before the illness. After a carefully monitored recovery, including clearance from his doctor and “practice” walks through the city with his PT equipment to make sure he could cover his cases, Billy is back on the job.
He is still challenged by fatigue and reduced lung capacity, but he applies his expertise as a physical therapist to his own recovery. Courageously, Billy used his first-hand experience to not only put himself in patients’ shoes but to also develop protocols to improve recovery and outcomes for his patients.
He notes that too many COVID patients are prescribed oxygen upon discharge from the hospital and not taught how to use it. Now that he is well and back in the field, he’s been working to help people better understand how to use the equipment and monitor their oxygen levels, and he coaches using a post-COVID exercise program to enhance recovery as well.
Billy is just as concerned about the wellbeing of people without COVID who are newly homebound—or couch-bound. Many of these individuals are afraid to go outside but should still be doing some type of physical activity on a daily basis, he knows. His practical tips and solutions for maintaining physical strength, releasing anxiety and improving cardiovascular strength while isolating at home make him an inspiration to many.
Always kind, always thinking of others, Billy Campbell shows every day how much he cares. He’s a true #HomeCareHero who is grateful to be back at work with VNSNY.
Karen Lane is a #HomeCareHero. Read her story.
Karen Lane, RN is a Case Manager with Lifetime Care – Rochester Regional Health In Rochester NY. Many of Karen’s patients reside in Assisted Living Facilities or Independent Living facilities. With COVID-19, these facilities suspended visitation, changing many of the routines that these seniors were used to, such as eating in the dining room or social activities.
Karen was often the only outside visitor these patients had.
True to form she not only provided excellent nursing care but also listened to the little things patients told her.
One patient lamented that the facility was no longer bringing ice cream to the patients for dessert. The next week, Karen brought this patient the ice cream she had been missing. The family so appreciated Karen’s simple kindness in bringing a little joy to their loved one during trying times.
"The isolation has been difficult on our elderly patients and we are so appreciative of Karen and her ability to assess and treat the 'whole person,' remark her colleagues at Lifetime Care.
Nicole Dioguardi is a #HomeCareHero. Read her story.
Nicole Dioguardi is not only a Home Care Hero, but a Weekend Warrior. Her willingness to work every Saturday and Sunday helps to ensure that patients receive excellent nursing care each day of the week.
COVID-19 presented many challenges, but Nicole continued to provide outstanding nursing care to her patients, along with thorough and detailed documentation to aid in appropriate follow-up.
As a Certified Diabetic Educator, Nicole continued to make visits not only in Monroe County, but in surrounding counties to make certain that her patients’ needs were met and they had appropriate education. Nicole is also an IV preceptor and is sought out by other nurses for support and training.
Nicole is qualified to handle any assignment and does it all with a smile. She often goes above and beyond to pick up extra visits to support the team. There were times when she filled the role of urgent responder so that patients' needs were met in a timely manner and care was not delayed.
Under the most stressful circumstances, Nicole is always calm, patient and pleasant – always professional. Even though she faced extenuating circumstances personally this year, providing care for people within her own family, she always responded to the needs and concerns of others.
Nicole consistently strives to provide the best possible nursing care for each patient, listening attentively and helping to alleviate fear and anxiety. She works closely with other disciplines and providers to develop the best plan for each patient. She is a true Home Care Hero at every visit!
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today issued a press release and letter to federal health officials seeking vital supports for home and community-based providers in the pandemic. Among them: priority access to personal protective equipment (PPE); telehealth reimbursement for home health agencies; and funding support for Medicaid home and community-based providers and workers.
HCA and HCA member the Visiting Nurse Service of New York have been working closely with Senator Gillibrand’s office on this appeal.
HCA Vice President for Finance and Management Patrick Conole has submitted comments to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on its proposed 2021 payment rule for home health. The comments can be downloaded here.
The proposed rule includes updates on a mix of longstanding payment-related programs and structures, but, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, left the existing 2020 Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM) intact.
CMS is expected to finalize the rule, following the comment period, in late October, with the rule going into effect on January 1, 2021.
Maxine Foster-Day is a #HomeCareHero. Read her story.
“If I could only choose one word that best describes Ms. Maxine, I would choose faithful,” writes Dorothy Sanchez, Director of Operations at Selfhelp Community Services’ Licensed Home Care Services Agency, in memory of Maxine Foster-Day, a Home Health Aide at Selfhelp who lost her life to COVID-19 in April 2020.
“Maxine Foster-Day was a faithful employee, a faithful co-worker, a faithful friend.” Sanchez adds:
"In my 20 years of employment at Selfhelp, I’ve never seen anyone so proud of being a home health aide as Maxine Foster-Day. Her eyes would sparkle when she would come to the office. She always had a warm firm hug that was deliberately long. I knew it was her way of showing that it mattered."
"Maxine Foster-Day’s devotion to her job compelled admiration. It’s because of extraordinary people like her that have hope for the true mission of home care, and our ability to provide excellent care to those in need."
Hospital and home care leaders are invited to join HCA, the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) and the Iroquois Healthcare Association (IHA) for a September 3 webinar launching our “Statewide Hospital-Home Care Collaborative for COVID-19 and Beyond.”
Registration for the launch webinar, at 4 p.m., is here.
This HCA-HANYS-IHA collaborative is being supported by a grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation. It is designed to promote pre- and post-hospital collaboration among hospitals and home care providers to address patients’ needs not only in the COVID-19 pandemic but also on a lasting basis.
Latoya Connolly and Angel Yohoulamang are #HomeCareHeroes. Read their story.
LATOYA CONNOLLY & ANGEL YOHOULAMANGA
Latoya Connolly (left) and Angel Yohoulamang (right), Home Health Aides at Westchester Care at Home, immediately jumped to the front of the line to be fit tested for an N-95 mask and be trained with PPE to care for a client in a facility who was COVID-19.
They went above and beyond, especially during the beginning of the pandemic when much was still unknown about COVID-19 and how to prevent or treat it.
Westchester Care At Home thanks Latoya and Angel for their bravery, dedication to their profession, and willingness to help during a time of crisis.
They are among a team of aides who bravely, and without question, volunteered to work with COVID-19 positive patients during the pandemic. They stepped up to the plate during a time of great fear and uncertainty to help patients in their community suffering and recovering from COVID-19.
To be as prepared as possible for their COVID-19 assignments, they underwent hours of extensive additional infection control training.
They performed their duties in full PPE attire in order to protect their patients and themselves. And despite the extreme conditions, they consistently delivered the level of comfort, care and compassion that has always defined Westchester Care at Home.
Please join us in celebrating the commitment made and dedication shown by these brave caregivers.
They both deserve recognition a big THANK YOU for their service.
Lorena Hebrado is a #HomeCareHero. Read her story.
Lorena Hebrado of St. Mary's Hospital for Children is a caring and dedicated Manhattan field nurse.
As this video shows (click the image above), Lorena provided a telehealth visit for a patient and his caregiver all while using sign language. She made the patient feel extremely comfortable during the visit and was able to ask him to show her how he washes his hands singing happy birthday all while signing.
Lorena reinforced infection control measures inside and outside the home. The patient was so happy to see Lorena and chatting back and forth with her via telehealth using sign language.
Lorena was patient and conducted a professional nursing visit all while signing back and forth between caregiver, patient and nurse.
A #HomeCareHero puts her unique skills to work in helping others, and Lorena Hebrado embodies that ethic.
Paulette Coley, Darlena Harding, Maxine Foster-Day and Suzane Roaches are #HomeCareHeroes. Read their story.
PAULETTE COLEY, DARLENA HARDING, MAXINE FOSTER-DAY & SUZANE ROACHES
A home care aide is someone who can persevere through any obstacle while providing quality care for another person in their own home.
"Our staff are prepared every day at 6 a.m. to respond to any emergency coverage needed in any borough, for any number of hours without question," says Dorothy Sanchez, Director of Operations at Selfhelp Community Services’ Licensed Home Care Services Agency.
In such cases, these committed individuals “don’t have the privilege of time to develop trust with clients,” Sanchez added. “They depend on their professionalism and their experience to evoke trust from clients in need."
Home Care Heroes (left to right above) Paulette Coley, Darlena Harding, Maxine Foster-Day and Suzane Roaches are among this elite team who are so skilled at what they do that clients will often request their services to continue beyond what otherwise may be an interim case assignment. That is a testament to their success.
In the midst of a worldwide pandemic, there was never a day that these committed staff were unavailable to help when called upon. They traveled across boroughs and stayed on live-in cases. While many aides were understandably afraid to work, or had child care challenges, this team of aides stayed the course. They are role models for all of us and true heroes to those at greatest risk in the community.
In April 2020, one of these four beloved aides, Maxine Foster-Day, lost her life to the coronavirus. (Please see our separate recognition here.)
“Maxine’s loss devastated our team. The threat of the pandemic hit Selfhelp home care in the heart,” Sanchez added. “Through the grief, through the loss, through the fear, our staff aides continued to answer the call to meet the needs of our community.”
“While there may be a lot of incredible stories about heroes during this pandemic, for Selfhelp, these caregivers are our Selfhelp Heroes,” she added.
JoAnn Racino is a #HomeCareHero. Read her story.
Nascentia Health’s Director of Staff Development & Clinical Informatics, JoAnn Racino, is part of the sixteen-person “Virus Hunters” who have been working non-stop conducting COVID-19 testing throughout the region.
As if things aren’t busy enough while on-location, JoAnn managed to take some life-savings measures to save a community member who went into cardiac arrest while at a testing site. She heroically utilized her CPR skills to revive the individual who was then taken to the hospital by ambulance.
Carol Stash is a #HomeCareHero. Read her story.
Carol Stash is a full-time physical therapist who works primarily in Yates County. She has worked at Rochester Regional Health System for several years and demonstrates a high level of clinical skill with both pediatric and adult patients.
Carol consistently has positive outcomes with her patients and works tirelessly to advocate for them.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Carol has been able to ensure her patients’ needs were met despite the many challenges. She takes extra time to obtain needed equipment, which is often difficult in a rural community.
She also communicates extensively with members of her patients’ care teams both within and outside of the agency.
Carol is empathetic, dedicated, well respected, and a very hard worker. She is a #HomeCareHero.
Gina Pugliese is a #HomeCareHero. Read her story.
Gina Pugliese, of St. Mary's Hospital for Children and its home care division, is a dedicated and outstanding Physical Therapist. Recently, Gina has gone above and beyond for a patient, Madison, with an inoperable brain stem tumor that is extremely rare and is fatal.
Since starting treatment, Madison has had a couple of setbacks, mostly due to illness and hospitalization. She is also unable to move all of the muscles in her body. She is only able to communicate with eye gaze by answering yes or no questions.
Recently, Madison's insurance company denied her PT services, stating lack of progress as the reason. Gina Pugliese, who is a PT Clinical Supervisor, conducted a peer-to-peer and was able to get the patient unlimited visits for a period of time.
The clinical director also gave Gina his personal cell number to contact him and informed her that he will authorize more visits if necessary.
Gina happened to be on vacation during this time and spent the better part of a day trying to get in contact with the clinical director. Gina was also able to get the patient fitted for long leg braces so the clinicians could stand her more efficiently and without risking her knees hyperextending or buckling.
She was able to get an orthotist to come to the home the NEXT DAY to do the casting.
When the orthotics were delivered, the family was beyond excited and thankful to see Madison standing without maximum assistance!
This is just one of many examples showcasing Gina’s extraordinary dedication. She also has played a very big part in helping to convert patient care to telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gina consistently goes above and beyond every day and is truly a dedicated therapist.
Nascentia Health’s “Virus Hunters” are #HomeCareHeroes. Read their story.
NASCENTIA HEALTH "VIRUS HUNTERS"
Nascentia Health’s “Virus Hunters”, a name affectionately given by Syracuse’s Post-Standard, consists of sixteen fearless clinicians who first entered the front lines of the COVID-19 battle when they bravely put on their PPE, loaded up their vehicles with equipment and started looking for COVID-19 cases throughout the Central New York region.
This hard-working team was part of an aggressive collaborative effort with Onondaga County and the Syracuse Community Health Center who were all on a mission to find the virus among some of the most vulnerable populations living in retirement centers, memory care facilities and other senior living residences. The goal was to find people with no symptoms but who could potentially spread the virus among other residents. In just the first two days, they visited three sites and tested approximately 200 patients.
Little did they know that this was just the beginning and the team would be pounding the pavement non-stop for many months to come.
In four months alone, the team completed nearly 9,000 tests in facilities and over 4,900 tests at mobile testing sites set up throughout the area.
Nothing can slow this team time as they are still going strong!
The team consists of the following #HomeCareHeroes: Amy Davis, Andrea Lazarek-LaQuay, Casey Rulison, Elizabeth McFadden, Elizabeth Olmstead, Gail Carmichel, Jacqueline Mullen, JoAnn Racino, Maria Giannino, Melissa Rogers, Nicolas D’Alessandro, Patrick Remenicky, Rebecca Albaugh, Samantha Gallup, Suezette Van Horn and Valerie Dorsey.
We are so grateful to these front-line troops taking on this incredible challenge!
Melissa Gary is a #HomeCareHero. Read her story.
Melissa Gary has been a Home Health Aide at the Gurwin Health Care System for 16 years. In that time she has continually shown outstanding loyalty and provided superior care to those she has cared for.
In her early years with us, she courageously persevered through hip-high water to get to her patient’s apartment in Long Beach the morning after Hurricane Sandy made landfall, knowing her patient was alone and unable to leave the apartment without assistance. Given the dire situation and realizing how many other people needed help, Melissa garnered the assistance of an EMT and together, using heavy blankets, they carefully negotiated the patient down the staircase from the fourth floor of the building.
Melissa’s bravery and selflessness continued this year through the COVID-19 pandemic.
This past March, Melissa was on a case in a facility where the virus started to take hold. She never hesitated when the level of fear about the virus was rising among all workers in the facility. She knew how vital her care was to the patient and she was committed to providing that care. When others cancelled, Melissa was always willing to take on additional coverage because she was so dedicated to the mission of the agency and the care of our patients.
Unfortunately, despite the continual use of PPE and her own diligence with safety protocols, Melissa herself began showing signs and symptoms and tested positive for the virus in late May 2020. She was hospitalized for a few days, courageously returning to work six weeks later.
Melissa has been the recipient of various recognition awards in her time with Gurwin and continues to stand out as one of the agency’s brightest stars. She is a #HomeCareHero.
Elsy Brizuela is a #HomeCareHero. Read her story.
Home Health Aide Elsy Brizuela has been recognized many times for her compassionate care delivery over her 16 years with Gurwin Home Care Agency.
Elsy played a pivotal role as Gurwin launched its telehealth program in 2020 to reduce hospital ER visits for individuals who were at most risk during the COVID-19 health emergency.
The dementia population was clearly a focus of this effort, and so Elsy was given training on the telehealth devices with the goal of having her work with the dementia population at Gurwin's Assisted Living Community.
Elsy provided undivided attention to each of the residents in the memory care unit, encouraging conversation and laughter with each interaction. By developing a special relationship with the residents, she was able to effectively report subtle changes in their condition. Her ability to recognize these changes was a significant advantage to the clinical teams when providing assistance to residents. It also allowed those teams to address clinical concerns more readily. Most of all, her care enabled the residents to remain home where their routine was consistent and comforting.
During the COVID-19 crisis, she made sure that each resident felt safe and supported as she took their blood pressure, heart rate, temperature and pulse oximetry readings, making a difference in each of their lives.
Elsy embodies the passion of the Gurwin mission. She cares for residents as if they were a member of her own family and she shows profound compassion for people with dementia. She is a #HomeCareHero.
Theresa Schliff is a #HomeCareHero. Read her story.
Theresa Schliff is an exemplary nurse. She is compassionate, caring, and consistently goes above and beyond in her daily work.
During the time of COVID-19, Theresa recognized the need for RN assistance in the Rochester Regional Health System’s long term care facilities. Though a home care nurse, Theresa immediately volunteered to work in the facility setting, at Hill Haven.
Following her orientation, Theresa began to work as a floor nurse, passing medication, providing treatments and jumping in for any bedside care that was needed. The staff of the facility are extremely appreciative of Theresa’s efforts, skill and outstanding care.
Theresa’s knowledge, family-centered approach and innovation have impacted numerous nurses, patients, and families. She is an extraordinary nurse and a #HomeCareHero doing amazing work across settings, embracing change as an opportunity to expand and to provide help where it is most needed.
The team at Fegs Home Attendant Services are #HomeCareHeroes. Read their story.
FEGS HOME ATTENDANT SERVICES TEAM
Fegs Home Attendant Services recognizes its committed staff who are home care heroes, including Fegs’ dedicated receptionist, case coordinator, HR representative, Director of Operations and intern/volunteer who collectively worked to maintain PPE supplies, address payroll/employment issues, coordinate various departments, and make sure that all clients had service continuity during the coronavirus public health emergency.
Shaunae Phaire is a #HomeCareHero. Read her story.
VNSNY Home Health Aide Shaunae Phaire knows that one of the most important things she does with the elders in her care, especially those on hospice, is help them get up in the morning to start their day. That was as true during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City as it is any day, and Shaunae was so dedicated to those in her care that she vowed to show up no matter what, day after day, despite the stories she heard on the news.
“Once your feet hit the floor, you sit up and think, ‘thank God, I got up this morning and I can move.'” Shaunae says this is a realization held by those in her care a sentiment she works to reinforce.
When she first started caring for a 101-year-old nursing home patient last November, her client was in bed all day. But with Shaunae’s help, the patient soon found her days full of light and life.
Shaunae’s daily greeting “Hello gorgeous, hello beautiful” roused her client from bed and helped her face each day. Shaunae visited daily, suiting up in an N95 respirator and gown and using so much Purell that the protective routine became second nature to her. Though the client was isolated in her room, Shaunae still made sure she received a radiant greeting and faced each day in a positive, upbeat way.
“We laughed together, and I told her, ‘you’re getting out of that bed and walking to that chair,’” Shaunae says. “'I’ll do your nails, and we’ll converse.'” Shaunae also called her client’s family every day, so they could video-chat. Instead of isolation, the client’s room became a temporary salon or other destination manifested through conversation.
Shaunae met her client’s family in February, before COVID-19 hit the U.S., when they came for a very special celebration of their relative’s 101st birthday. The entire family was effusive in thanking her for the care she was providing. “Everyone said, ‘Oh, you’re the one taking care of Grandma. Thank you! You’re doing such a wonderful job, everyone’s talking about you,’” she recalls.
When “Grandma” passed away this summer, the family once again expressed their gratitude for Shaunae’s care and commitment during these trying times. “They said, ‘Not everyone would come to the nursing home when there was COVID,’” Shaunae says. “But if I didn’t come in, who would take care of her? I promised to stay as long as I possibly could. That’s just me.”
Shaunae embodies the mission of both VNSNY's Partners in Care and of hospice care to elevate a person’s quality of life at the end of life. “It feels good, knowing that you’re making the rest of their days easier,” Shaunae says of her clients on hospice.
On Saturday evening, President Donald J. Trump signed four executive actions that would: extend unemployment benefits; prevent residential evictions and foreclosures; assist with student loans; and suspend the collection of payroll taxes.
Federal lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have questioned the constitutionality of these actions amid a stalemate on negotiations over the next coronavirus aid package. Continue reading “President Trump Signs Executive Orders to Extend Federal Relief and Other COVID-19 Updates”
Mitali Vyas is a #HomeCareHero. Read her story.
Mitali Vyas relishes her role as Rehabilitation Manager for The New Jewish Home’s Certified Home Health Agency (CHHA), which helps ensure that older adults living in their own homes receive the support they need to remain healthy, safe and comfortable.
Mitali oversees a team of 20 physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists. These employees are providing critical in-home services, even more so during the COVID-19 outbreak. And during this difficult time, Mitali is pitching in and stepping out from behind her desk, joining her colleagues on the front lines, even if it means potentially putting her family in harm’s way.
Originally from Mumbai, India, Mitali received her bachelor’s degree there and earned her master’s degree in physical therapy after moving to the U.S.
Mitali adds that while it’s been more challenging to treat patients in times of COVID-19, her team has always had proper personal protection equipment (PPE) and is well trained in infection control.
“We help our recovering COVID patients do the things they were able to do before getting sick — cook, dress and clean themselves and regain their strength and balance — all with the goal of getting them to be as independent as possible,” Mitali says.
She tells the story of one patient, Mr. H., a hairdresser who recently had to have his left leg amputated below his knee. As someone who had to stand up for great lengths of time in his work, this amputation was not only physically challenging but it took an emotional toll. On top of all of this, Mr. H contracted COVID-19 during his recovery at a nursing home that is not part of The New Jewish Home system.
Upon returning home, Mitali was determined to help Mr. H get to a better place. Initially, Mr. H was not on board with his plan of care. Aside from his emotional challenges, he had put on a lot of weight. “He could not even get out of bed. Basically, Mr. H had to relearn activities of daily living, including bathing, dressing, cooking and using the bathroom all over again. And this time with a prosthetic leg,” Mitali describes.
Mr. H’s family members were struggling too — they were overwhelmed. But Mitali persisted. She worked with Mr. H over the course of seven weeks with good progress. In time, following the program Mitali and her team set up, Mr. H became able to dress himself, he could get around his home on his own and use the bathroom. By the end of his course of physical therapy, Mr. H was even cooking breakfast for his family, essentially back to his pre-hospitalization level of ability — and equally important, with a renewed spirit and passion to return to his hair salon.
While inspiring achievements like this really resonate with Mitali, she realizes that even with taking all of the necessary COVID-19 precautions, she could be putting her husband and 18-month-old son at risk. Despite these concerns, Mitali says she loves being in the field and couldn’t imagine working with a better team
“My husband asked me: What would I rate my job satisfaction on a scale of one to ten? This was easy: 10! I wouldn’t trade places with anyone.”
HCA will be testifying today in the second of two state legislative hearings examining the impact of COVID-19 on nursing homes and other long term care settings. The hearing begins at 10 a.m.
At the first hearing — for New York City, Westchester and Long Island last week — lawmakers raised numerous questions focused on nursing home fatality rates, how the data were represented, nursing home visitation policies, and more. Continue reading “HCA to Testify Today at Legislative Hearing on COVID-19 and Long Term Care”
Marie Deolall is a #HomeCareHero. Read her story.
Marie Deolall was recently honored by RiverSpring Health as an aide of the year for her care of Suzette Marcelin, a 101-year old Haitian woman living at home in Brooklyn — accolades that were recently reported in The Haitian Times.
Marie has proved to be a great advocate, actively participating in discussions about her patients' needs.
One of her priorities is to make sure that a patient's plan of care is visible at all times and to all staff working on the case.
During the public health emergency, Marie takes every safety precaution, wearing a mask and gloves at all times, following all preventive recommendations, cleaning thoroughly all food items brought in from outside. Most importantly, she creates a positive, loving environment which is essential for coping with the current situation.
Marie's care is perhaps best summed up in a quote from The Haitian Times, attributed to her patient's son: “In my entire life, I’ve never seen a woman care so much for her patient,” Marcelin’s son, Ricot Antenor, is quoted as saying. “She’s an outstanding worker. She opened her eyes wide to take care of my mom. She fills everything my mother needs. They’re like mother and daughter. I feel great, I can just leave her with my mother with my eyes closed.”
Laura Maldonado is a #HomeCareHero. Read her story.
Since the onset of COVID-19, we have all been heartened by stories of how home care workers have stepped up to care for infected patients under extremely difficult conditions. At VNS Westchester, Wound and Ostomy Care Nurse (WOCN) Laura Maldonado “has stepped up on a variety of fronts from the earliest days of the pandemic, earning the respect and admiration of her patients, her peers and the leadership of our agency,” says Director of Patient Services Joann Parliament.
Laura was one of the first of VNSW's clinical staff to volunteer to visit COVID-positive patients at home, especially high-risk patients with complex wounds. She did so with calm assurance that helped to soothe anxieties, not only among her patients and their families but also among other members of the home care team.
She quickly emerged as a role model and a mentor. She even volunteered to accompany other clinicians on COVID-related cases, if needed, as the pandemic raged on in the VNSW region — one of the state’s hardest-hit areas in the early days of the crisis.
As a frontline nurse and staff mentor, Laura already had her hands full. However, that did not stop her from volunteering her time to address other urgent needs at the agency. She was a tremendous asset to VNSW’s leadership by helping to prepare policies and procedures related to patient care in the pandemic. She played an essential role in reinforcing rigorous guidelines among staff for proper hand-washing, procedures for donning and doffing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and droplet precautions — critical knowledge needed to protect their patients and themselves from the spread of infection.
With facemasks serving as a vital barrier in preventing infection, Laura volunteered to learn how to use a fit-test machine to fit-test N95 masks for over 100 field staff, a means of preventing air leakage and ensuring the integrity of the mask. She also volunteered to learn how to conduct COVID-19 tests, offering herself as a test subject to promote learning among the rest of the team.
“Through strength of character and selfless dedication, Laura is an extraordinary individual stepping up to perform multiple roles with equal doses of passion, determination and effectiveness,” Parliament adds.
Home Health Care News reached out to HCA for comment on a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association which queried home health aides on their experiences early in the COVID-19 health emergency.
“Many of the key themes in this study echo what our organization has identified in our own survey of the home care field,” said HCA’s Communications Director Roger Noyes. “This includes the need for a more coordinated effort at all levels of emergency management to overcome personal protective equipment supply challenges.”
Noyes points out that many home care leaders participated in grassroots efforts to establish voluntary PPE distribution sites in all boroughs of New York City to coordinate with city officials and partner organizations on this area of need.
Kate Enyan is a #HomeCareHero. Read her story.
Getting to the COVID-19 recovery phase is a team effort, and this is especially so when patients and staff alike are directly impacted by illness.
One such patient, Mrs. G, suffered a deep vein thrombosis on March 18 and was hospitalized for three days at the height of the pandemic. Following hospitalization, she came home on blood thinners to avoid future clotting and happily returned to the care of her aides. (Mrs. G has received aide care 12 hours a day since coming to Americare Certified Special Services following a severe stroke in 2013.) A few days later, it was reported that Mrs. G had symptoms mirroring COVID-19.
Americare's RN team called the daughter and the MD and a plan was put into place: to monitor the patient and keep her at home as long as possible.
Soon after, in a scenario that has been repeated throughout this crisis, the two aides caring for Mrs. G, one by one, called Americare's RN team to also report symptoms, requiring the caregivers to go into quarantine.
In an effort to continue providing care, Americare's Service Coordination Team reached out to Kate Enyan who accepted Mrs. G's case, knowing that the patient suffered from COVID-19 and needed assistance.
Kate provided exceptional care to Mrs. G, who is 100 percent recuperated; and both of her longstanding aides, Bertha Reyes and Argentina Prado, have also fully recuperated and are back at work!
Lizbeth Velez Cruz is a #HomeCareHero. Read her story.
LIZBETH VELEZ CRUZ
During a time of crisis true leaders emerge and pave the way to the path of mitigation and eventual normalcy.
Since the pandemic onslaught in early March 2020, Americare Certified Special Services had a number of leaders who revealed their mettle at the frontlines in the form of Americare's field nurses.
The pandemic blindsided and changed everything imaginable: the way we work, communicate, socialize, eat, and live. One constant remained: the way we take care of our patients in the community.
One such brave, dedicated, selfless nurse is Lizbeth Velez Cruz. "Liz is our LEADER in initiating home care services for all the COVID-19 patients in Queens," writes Bridget Gallagher, Vice President at Americare. "She pioneered the way we service these patients in all other boroughs and simply paved the way for the rest of our field staff by her magnificent example. We are truly grateful to have such Leaders here at Americare CSS."
Henry Hill is a #HomeCareHero. Read his story.
As a home care provider in the initial COVID-19 hotspot of NYC, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester, Americare Certified Special Services quickly recognized that it was dealing with an emergency of unprecedented scale and timeframe.
Americare nurses, therapists, pharmacists, and home health aides are serving thousands of patients. They are joined by a team of clerical/support staff doing the foundation work that makes this care possible, including an Information Technology division that has been front-and-center in Americare's planning effort.
Americare needed to establish the capability for staff to work from home wherever possible, enhance existing telehealth programs with video capabilities for clinical visits, establish online screening and educational tools for use on laptops and cellphones, and reporting systems for timely updates to track symptoms, infections, and overall status.
Right in the middle of this IT fray was Henry Hill, Americare's Manager of Network Services.
As Americare established work-from-home procedures, Henry guided the IT team to ensure quality review RNs could access Americare's system while home health aides and field nurses could conference over Zoom or Microsoft Team when anxious patients in need of care were refusing visits.
A longstanding employee of Americare, Henry knew our IT systems in and out. But more importantly, he had an invaluable understanding of Americare's employees, their roles, and their IT capabilities.
Screening questions were blasted to Americare's entire field staff daily to ensure timely symptom reporting. Staff extensions were connected to cell phones so that patients calling Americare's lines were connected directly to the team they knew.
Not surprisingly, all these efforts required a massive amount of handholding. In the midst of it all, Henry guided the IT team to ensure that all staff not only had their problems resolved but, even from a distance, always felt supported by Americare.
Henry Hill and his IT team were able to accomplish the unimaginable for Americare. Americare was not only able to ensure all of its existing patients were serviced but it also admitted hundreds of COVID-19 positive patients in need of care. Accomplishing this level of technology implementation under enormous pressure and anxiety is a true testament to our IT team under Henry’s leadership.
Sadly, Henry Hill passed away of COVID-19 in April. Henry and the impact he had on Americare's team and patients will always be remembered and cherished.
Eileen Baez is a #HomeCareHero. Read her story.
While the coronavirus pandemic has been a fearful and uncertain time for all of us, one Staten Island nurse, Eileen Baez, with The Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY), has played a vital role in the lives of her patients throughout the crisis with attentive care, education and perhaps the most overlooked tool of all: a smile.
Baez has been a nurse with VNSNY for more than 28 years and has seen firsthand the resilience of her New York colleagues and patients. During this unprecedented COVID-19 public health crisis, she has been helping patients as they recover and grow stronger after being discharged from hospitalization with COVID-19. Going the extra mile day in and day out, she helps quell the anxiety brought on by the pandemic with facts, compassion and highly skilled care.
Armed with VNSNY’s special COVID-19 care kits, she ensures the safety of her patients — and herself — as she makes her daily home-visit rounds.
Patient and family education is paramount as the crisis continues, and is always an integral part of home care.
“I like to do one-on-one teaching,” says Baez, “It’s one of the reasons I chose home care. In their homes, patients are very receptive and willing to ask questions, whether it’s about drinking water, doing their exercises or taking medications."
She adds: "With COVID-19 and a possible second wave on the horizon, we make sure all of our patients, and especially those in COVID-19 recovery, know about and are practicing precautions like wearing masks, hand-washing and social distancing."
VNSNY also makes sure they know what symptoms to watch for in case there’s a relapse or a family member is exposed outside the home. "There’s a lot of confusion and fear out there," Baez adds. "We work to calm people and make sure they stay safe.”
While in the field, Baez is also helping to educate the next generation of home care nurses.
With PPE and a smile, Baez has displayed the same kind of resilience she’s seen in her own patients, all while helping New York battle the COVID-19 crisis each day with care, optimism, humor and encouragement.
Chris Curley is a #HomeCareHero. Read his story.
In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, it became clear that the ability to secure essential personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies was vital to keeping staff and patients safe.
The national PPE supply chain was broken, critical shortages were an everyday health care crisis, and UR Medicine Home Care's normal supply channels were sold out, with most products on backorder.
Fortunately, UR Medicine Home Care had a champion and hero, Chris Curley. He worked tirelessly to get the supplies needed, demonstrated calm, and helped employees feel confident that they would have the protective equipment they needed to do their job and to stay safe.
He made it look easy and kept stress levels down. In reality, every day was a race for him. He made countless phone calls to every connection he had in the city, county, and state. He networked with local manufacturers that had switched their product lines to produce PPE supplies and, as a result, he secured donations of face shields, masks, and hand sanitizer worth tens of thousands of dollars. He also traveled thousands of miles in his car picking up supplies and transporting them back to the agency.
Chris Curley, Safety and Security Manager, is a creative problem solver and an out-of-the-box thinker. Pre-COVID-19, he was in charge of emergency management and security for the agency. He quickly embraced the new responsibilities and demonstrated a passion and dedication to his fellow workers by keeping them safe while helping limit the negative financial impact of unbudgeted and in-demand PPE supplies.
Sam Vanini is a #HomeCareHero. Read his story.
Sam Vanini is a full time Physical Therapist in the eastern region of Monroe County.
He has been in home health care for a few years and is a high achiever. He won Rochester Regional Lifetime Care's rookie home health care clinician of the year during his first year. He is extremely personable, hardworking, kind, and caring. Sam covers a busy case load.
During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lifetime Care supported the Rochester Regional Health system in many areas. When some clinicians were redeployed to assist other departments, including skilled nursing facilities, Sam stayed in home health care and absorbed multiple clinicians' caseloads. He ensured continuity of care for all of his patients and allowed a smooth transition for their care.
During recent months, Sam has worked with a few patients that were COVID-19-positive or under investigation as suspected of having the illness. He wore additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and carefully followed all infection control guidelines.
Sam is an excellent home care therapist. He has maintained a positive attitude as he has worked through the challenges of the pandemic, allowing Rochester Regional Lifetime Care to maintain caseloads and timely care during this challenging time by going above and beyond for home care patients.
In the July edition of HCA’s Capitol Report newsletter for the New York State Legislature and state officials, we report on the recent July legislative session, including some actions to mitigate prior-instituted limits on home care eligibility and access.
HCA is urging the Legislature to further revisit these and other faulty Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) changes instituted in the state budget earlier this year. Continue reading “July 2020 Edition of the Capitol Report Newsletter”
Two days, ten sessions and a much-needed time for learning, reflection, collaboration and morale!
A global health pandemic. Long-pressing industry needs. Some of the most consequential program changes in recent history. We need this gathering more than ever before: a moment for learning, reflection, collaboration and morale.
Participants have ten sessions to choose from, spaced across two days and streamed through our new online learning management system. Read our agenda at-a-glance to learn more.
To register through our learning management system, you’ll need to create a profile first and then follow the instructions. We will provide you with all the details for accessing our conference stream on August 25 and 26, including the opportunity to watch content on-demand as well.
Every crisis is an opportunity. While we would love to see you in person, this virtual format offers convenience, flexibility and lower registration fees, including a new group discount rate for an UNLIMITED number of staff to attend from your organization.
Got questions? Contact HCA’s Director of Education Celisia Street.
In a recent report on home health aide shortages in the COVID-19 pandemic, Spectrum News cites HCA data noting that:
hundreds of the thousands of individuals and their families rely on the home care system for care and support; that home care workers are underpaid; and that New York State’s Medicaid program covers only 87% of the cost of home care services.
The news gets worse.
Twenty-nine percent of home health agencies use lines of credit or borrow to meet operating expenses. These are the very agencies that are expected to recruit, train, retain and supervise thousands of home health care aides. But because wages are so low, they are having a tough time. Turnover among some groups is as high as 58 percent.
The report adds: “Again, the HCANYS’ report was released before the worst of the pandemic in the U.S, back in December when most COVID-19-related news was coming out of China and Americans were focused on the holidays.”
The federal COVID-19 public health emergency has been extended another 90 days. It was set to expire on July 25.
Alex Azar, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services signed the extension last week (July 23), putting the new expiration date in late October. Continue reading “COVID-19 Briefs for July 27, 2020”
A team of physical therapists at Peconic Bay Home Health Care are #HomeCareHeroes. Read their story.
THE PT TEAM AT PBHS
Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, Peconic Bay Home Health Services (PBHS) realized it needed to be a part of the solution to the fact that the coronavirus was negatively impacting the Hispanic and African-American communities in greater numbers.
The cancellation of elective surgeries in New York State allowed Peconic Bay’s Physical Therapy team to spring into action in a comprehensive Community Outreach Initiative. Backed by the Suffolk County Department of Health’s Office of Minority Affairs and Hudson River Healthcare, PBHS PTs began working at county COVID-19 testing sites, including at-risk communities of Brentwood, Coram/Gordon Heights, and Riverhead.
In total, PBHS PTs volunteered over 400 hours of community service at these sites during the height of the pandemic in April and May 2020. They met with people getting tested for COVID-19, gave out COVID-19 materials and PPE, and provided instructions on proper hand washing and strategies to minimize spread. They also volunteered at weekly food lines of the Lighthouse Mission. The team handed out surgical masks, hand sanitizer, and COVID-19 education materials in both English and Spanish to the community members who were in need. PBHS team members did similar efforts at St. John Church in Riverhead and The Faith Alive Ministries in Central Islip thanks to a partnership between Northwell Health and church leaders.
Rather than furloughing physical therapists and telling them to stay home, PBHS did the exact opposite. In response, these committed individuals rallied. They showed courage and heart.
Lovencia Ciceron is a #HomeCareHero. Read her story.
Lovencia Ciceron, a Home Health Aide at Hamaspik HomeCare, continued to provide care for a patient with advanced dementia at an extraordinarily trying time. The patient and his family were both stricken with COVID-19, but Lovencia stayed on the case, providing care for him when no other aide would do so. Because of her, the patient received total care. She is a #HomeCareHero.
Interactive online platform helps overcome social isolation in older adults during COVID-19 health emergency
Join HCA Education and Research (E&R), Selfhelp Community Services and public officials on July 24 at 10:30 a.m. to see first-hand a powerful, interactive Virtual Senior Center (VSC) platform open for all home and community-based clients to enroll. Register for the webinar here.
As HCA announced in our member newsletter yesterday, our grant-funded program to train home care and hospice clinicians on COVID-19 testing in the home care setting has been extended through year’s end.
State DOH Issues Return to Work Guidance
As announced in a member alert last week, the state Department of Health (DOH) released guidance on revised protocols for home care and other health care personnel to return to work following COVID-19 exposure or infection.
The guidance outlines the conditions under which entities may allow staff to return to work after: 1) being confirmed or suspected of COVID-19 exposure or infection; or 2) after traveling to a state with a significant degree of community spread (see DOH’s travel guidance and update below), among other situations. Continue reading “COVID-19 Briefs for July 13, 2020”
In a letter to the editor published by the New York Times this week, HCA responded to an op-ed by E. Tammy Kim highlighting a number of vulnerabilities faced by home health aides in the COVID-19 pandemic — “a global health crisis that has laid bare systemic government gaps,” writes HCA President Al Cardillo in the published letter. He took the occasion to write about HCA-sought remedies, including “funding … urgently needed for wages that match the courage of caregivers at a time when Medicaid rates fall short of this obligation, with warnings of still further state budget cuts to come.”
Cardillo also noted the home care provider community’s voluntary effort to distribute PPE for peer home care providers and workers, noting the need for “a dedicated collective effort by government, payers and emergency management … to further provide these most essential protections.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced $15 billion in CARES Act relief funds for Medicaid providers who lost revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. HHS has clarified that home care agencies are eligible, under fee-for-service and managed care. This includes Licensed Home Care Services Agencies and Certified Home Health Agencies who meet all of the conditions.
On July 10, in two days, Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement expert Koy Dever of BKD, LLP will lead a webinar offering the latest information on eligibility criteria, navigating the application process, terms and conditions, reporting and audit requirements, as well as frequently asked questions.
On July 3, the state Department of Health (DOH) released guidance on revised protocols for home care and other health care personnel to return to work following COVID-19 exposure or infection.
In the June 2020 Capitol Report, we highlight two grant initiatives to support patients in the COVID-19 emergency through testing procedures and virtual services for seniors.
Also, HCA and partners urge continuation of an existing coordination effort with the New York City Department of Health to provide PPE for home care.
Plus we link to recent news reports featuring Visiting Nurse Service & Hospice of Suffolk, HCR Home Care, and others. Read it here: https://tinyurl.com/yaouword.
What follows are the most salient COVID-19 updates for HCA members as of the week ending June 21, 2020.
This is a weekly digest of new information as well as briefs that may have already been provided to home and community-based organizations via e-mail alert throughout the past week. Continue reading “COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending June 21, 2020”
What follows are the most salient COVID-19 updates for HCA members as of the week ending June 14, 2020.
This is a weekly digest of new information as well as briefs that may have already been provided to home and community-based organizations via e-mail alert throughout the past week. Continue reading “COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending June 14, 2020”
In comments to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), HCA focused on three principal areas of the proposed hospice rule for fiscal year (FY) 2021: hospice wage index updates and revisions based on new Core-Based Statistical Area (CBSA) designations published by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in 2018; CMS’s proposed elimination of the Service Intensity Add-on (SIA) budget neutrality factor; and upcoming changes to the hospice election statement, along with a new addendum requirement.
Grant from Mother Cabrini Health Foundation to fund statewide technical expansion of Selfhelp’s online VSC platform so home care providers statewide can offer service, connect patients
The distress of social isolation and technology’s power to help overcome this divide are well understood by all New Yorkers amid the COVID-19 health emergency. Older adults, especially those who are homebound, are uniquely susceptible to these perils – now more so than ever.
To help, the Home Care Association of New York State (HCA) was awarded a grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation to leverage Selfhelp Community Services’ Virtual Senior Center (VSC) web-based platform so that all home care providers in New York State can offer the VSC to their patients. Continue reading “HCA, Selfhelp Community Services to Expand Pioneering ‘Virtual Senior Center’ for All NY Home Care Patients Amid COVID-19 Social Isolation”
HCA Vice President for Finance and Management Patrick Conole submitted comments to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS) on CMS’s interim rule regarding home care and hospice “regulatory revisions” that have been issued in response to the public health emergency.
In our comments, HCA recognized CMS’s efforts thus far on regulatory relief and waivers, including CMS’s responsive interpretation of the “homebound” status definition in light of COVID-19, new allowances for non-physician practitioners to order home health services, and the modest expansion of remote telecommunications services to help shield against exposure risk and to help augment care.
On this latter area, however, HCA made several recommendations. We noted the recently extended or expanded flexibilities, permissions and payments for telehealth by other practitioners that should be likewise provided broadly to home health and hospice providers whose patients and staff also face infection exposure risks.
What follows are the most salient COVID-19 updates for HCA members as of the week ending June 7, 2020.
This is a weekly digest of new information as well as briefs that may have already been provided to home and community-based organizations via e-mail alert throughout the past week.
To catch up on all COVID-19 updates, please see the news feed on our “home care prepare” website (here), including our resource page with COVID-19 regulatory waivers, guidance and more (here). Continue reading “COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending June 7, 2020”
Home Health Care News covered HCA’s call for Congressional funds to New York home care providers at the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis who, we estimate, have weathered at least $200 million in losses.
“We need the NY delegation action to include, by whatever acceptable method, a priority fiscal aid target of $200 million for our state’s home health agencies,” HCA President and CEO Al Cardillo wrote to the entire New York Congressional Delegation. “We appeal to you to work with congressional colleagues to provide for this urgent constituent support.”
What follows are the most salient COVID-19 updates for HCA members as of the week ending May 31.
This is a weekly digest of new information as well as briefs that may have already been provided to home and community-based organizations via e-mail alert throughout the past week.
To catch up on all COVID-19 updates, please see the news feed on our “home care prepare” website (here), including our resource page with COVID-19 regulatory waivers, guidance and more (here). Continue reading “COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending May 31, 2020”
Please act today here on a new HCA Legislative Action Center campaign urging direct federal funds for New York home care providers at the front line of the COVID-19 epicenter.
As previously reported, HCA has estimated home care’s COVID-19 financial impact to be at least $200 million in New York State, a conservative estimate. We are calling on Congress to appropriate this baseline, threshold amount needed in the next aid package to stabilize New York home care providers who have, to date, received little aid relative to other settings. Much of this aid has come in the form of advance payments, loans and other financial mechanisms primarily through Medicare-funded programs but with little comprehensive support for providers of all home and community-based programs, including Medicaid services. Continue reading “Act Now on Urgent Call for Federal COVID-19 Funds to Home Care in Congress”
HCA’s May 2020 edition of the HCA Capitol Report explores COVID-19 testing in home care, HCA’s call for federal and state coordination on home care aid and other COVID-19 news.
Congress is debating another coronavirus aid package, and it is imperative that home care receives vital stabilization funds as part of it.
As reported last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $3 trillion aid bill. It is opposed by U.S. Senate leaders, who are seeking an alternative approach. All forecasts suggest that a new package — however it may look — is not conceivable until sometime in June.
HCA President and CEO Al Cardillo this week wrote a letter to all members of New York’s Congressional Delegation appealing for funds to home care in this upcoming aid package, noting that prior relief measures have yielded billions in support for hospital needs while “home care’s fiscal chasm” in COVID-19 relief “has been substantially unaided by these measures.”
HCA and HCA Member Selfhelp Community Services joined industry voices from around the nation in an NBC News report “Coronavirus concerns show increased need, demand for home care, experts say.”
The article explains the impact of COVID-19 on services, including what the future holds for home care. HCA noted the vital role of technology, and the need for reimbursement of telehealth. “We’re finding that telehealth is vital for reducing exposure in a time of crisis like this,” said HCA Communications Director Roger Noyes.
Selfhelp’s COO Russell Lusak, an HCA Board Member, discussed his organization’s pioneering Virtual Senior Center. Under a grant from the Mother Cabrini Foundation, HCA and Selfhelp are working collaboratively to make the platform available to all providers statewide. “That connection to other people is so important,” Lusak said. “It’s a great option for people that otherwise wouldn’t have the ability to go to a senior center. It’s such an incredible thing to see.”
What follows are the most salient COVID-19 updates for HCA members as of the week ending May 25.
This is a weekly digest of new information as well as briefs that may have already been provided to home and community-based organizations via e-mail alert throughout the past week.
To catch up on all COVID-19 updates, please see the news feed on our “home care prepare” website (here), including our resource page with COVID-19 regulatory waivers, guidance and more (here). Continue reading “COVID-19 Updates for the Week Ending May 25, 2020”