Talking Home Care: Home Care Heroes During a Pandemic

Front-line heroes share their stories about overcoming the challenges posed by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has created huge challenges to healthcare systems across the globe, including here in Massachusetts. As part of National Home Care and Hospice Month, we collected first-hand stories from our members about the front-line challenges they faced, and how they overcame them.

For the 14th episode of Talking Home Care, we’ve collected these stories into a single podcast. They are introduced by Alliance Executive Director Pat Kelleher and are read by drama students at Winthrop Middle School.

You may listen to the podcast by clicking any of the platform images above, clicking “play,” or downloading it directly (Length: 41 minutes; Size: 29 MB).

If you enjoy the podcast, please subscribe and give us a five-star review so others can find it.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

2020 Annual Report

Our 2020 Annual Report highlights the Alliance and Foundation’s achievements over the past 12 months, including our response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Our 2020 Annual Report highlights the Alliance and Foundation’s achievements over the past 12 months.

2020 Annual Report of the Home Care Alliance and Foundation for Home Health

Responding to COVID

Since the onset of the pandemic and the declarations of federal and state emergencies, the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts shifted much of its attention and resources to COVID-19-related membership support. To that end,
the Alliance:

  • Was the first state to create guidelines for members—both medical and non-medical—admitting COVID-positive patients. This guidance was adopted by many other states and shared by the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC)
  • Offered regular calls for CEOs of certified and private care agencies to share and learn from each other, as well as calls for clinical directors, HR mangers, and hospice directors
  • Published more than 50 COVID Updates, a new publication exclusively for our members
  • Advocated for, and secured, multiple Medicaid waivers, including full payment for remote visits, waiver of certain in-home assessment requirements, and allowance of a remote audio-visual face-to-face (F2F)
  • Successfully advocated for non-medical home care services to be deemed “essential” to continue operations in the early days of the pandemic as the Baker Administration was issuing business closures
  • Worked with MassHealth on guidance to keep telehealth waivers permanent
  • Hosted more than a dozen webinars on topics such as: accessing the PPP program, documenting telehealth visits for payment, unemployment and COVID, the CARES ACT, and Medicare stimulus funding
  • Advocated with the state for COVID support funding, resulting in Massachusetts being among the most generous states in passing federal Medicaid money to agencies in the form of 10% rate increases for home health, 20% rate increases for continuous skilled nursing, and 10% provider payment relief for providers in the State Home Care Program
  • Answered hundreds of member regulatory questions related to the pandemic
  • Developed and hosted a COVID-19 Resource page that includes Allied member COVID resource services, generating more than 1,500 page views between March and August
  • Secured Board of Registration in Nursing clarification, assuring that the federal change related to NPs and home health services will remain operative in Massachusetts after the State of Emergency
  • Worked with MassHealth on the new agency-directed PCA model program
  • Coordinated strategy with the Home Care Aide Council on expanded services and increased funding in the EOEA home care program
  • Worked with the Massachusetts Medical Society to educate physicians about audio-visual F2F assessment requirements
  • Worked with assisted living facilities and other acute and post-acute providers to educate them on the federal temporary changes to the Medicare homebound requirement
  • Worked with the Betsy Lehman Center on an infection control training and toolbox for use in homemaker and aide training

Other 2019-2020 Work

Among the member supportive services over the past twelve months, the Alliance and Foundation have:

  • Moved the entire Spring Conference and Trade Show to a virtual platform available to members on demand
  • Offered members a one-time 15% dues discount
  • Worked with state legislators and other stakeholders to advance an effective non-medical home care licensure bill; Legislation is unlikely to be signed into
  • law prior to the end of the 2020 Legislative Session
  • Produced a series of videos for our website and for members’ use on working with Private Care home care agencies
  • Provided Get Out the Home Care Vote materials for members to use with their employees
  • Hosted an EVV vendor webinar series
  • Hosted multiple sessions on operating under the PDGM payment system
  • Hosted a virtual Home Care Aide Recognition Day, engaging more than 1,000 people on Facebook and Twitter, honoring 120 aides from member agencies

New Allied Member Search

Our new Allied & Individual Member Search it easier than ever to find the products and services your agency needs to thrive.

Our new Allied & Individual Member Search it easier than ever to find the products and services your agency needs to thrive.

Allied Member Search

By default, the page shows clearly-laid-out information about all of our Allied and Individual members. But by expanding either the Clinical & Caregiving or Business & Administration menus, you can filter the results by service type.

The page is intuitive, fast, and runs on all devices.

You Work Hard for Your Clients. Let Us Work for You.

We want to hear from non-members about what they need and how we can help.

The home care industry has met the COVID-19 Pandemic with incredible skill, professionalism, and diligence.

But even the best agencies need help navigating the maze of new regulations, HR changes, supply-chain issues, and other challenges we’ve faced since March. And that’s on top of all the other challenges — business and care-giving alike — that come from running a home care or home health care agency.

(A Two-Minute Survey for Non-Members)

To get a better sense of your specific needs, we’re asking non-members to take a moment to complete a short, 1-page survey. Our team will then contact you within two business days to discuss how we can serve you and your agency.

The Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts has the tools, expertise, and resources you need so you can focus on what you do best: Serving your clients and protecting your employees

Questions? Contact Tom Meyer at (617) 482-8830.

Recognizing #HomeCareHeroes on Home Care Aide Recognition Day

The Alliance and our EnoughPayToStay partners celebrate some of the best front-line workers in the home care industry.

More than 60,000 home care aides are employed across the Commonwealth to meet the needs of vulnerable older adults during the Coronavirus pandemic. Yesterday, we were proud to recognize some of these front-line heroes on Home Care Aide Recognition Day. These workers are helping people stay out of hospitals and nursing homes during the pandemic.

These critical caregivers not only care for their clients, but also help the rest of the healthcare industry during the pandemic by helping people stay out of hospitals and nursing homes. Most of these nominees have never missed a shift and many picked-up extra shifts when their colleagues were sick or caring for their own loved ones.

The Home Care Aide Recognition Day is a joint effort through the Enough Pay to Stay Coalition, which is comprised of the Home Care Aide Council, The Home Care Alliance, and Mass Home Care. Please join us in recognizing the contributions of these essential front-line workers.

Congratulations to India Bulgar and Courtney Wilder of Southcoast VNA.

Congratulations to Ramona Jones Weeks & Tiara Sicard of Always Here Home Care.

Congratulations to Dicia Gonzalez and Catherine Haynes of Alternative Home Health Care, LLC.

Congratulations to Zoraida Velazquez and Angelica Figueroa of Apex Homecare.

Congratulations to Michael Walzone, Natisha Burton, Titi Mitchell, and Lurine Handley of Bayada Home Health Care.

Congratulations to Brenda Evans and Janyce Edwards of VNA of Cape Cod.

Congratulations to Sarka Bobb, Amanda Jannsen, Susan Miller and Teresa O’Brien of Care Central VNA & Hospice.

Congratulations to Isabel Vasquez and Maria Lopez of Comfort Home Care.

Congratulations to Alexis Deschenes and Kristen Soares of Community Nurse Home Care.

Congratulations to Jeanne Da Silva and Lynn Clarkin of Community VNA.

Congratulations to Kyle Oldham and Joanna Reid-Ellington of Connected Home Care.

Congratulations to Elizabeth Boateng, Sylvanne Vertisca, Teddy Kirabo, and Annah Kangethe of Deaconess Abundant Life.

Congratulations to Elizabeth Opiro of Elara Caring.

Congratulations to Adjoa Asafu-Adjaye and Randy Kolodziej of Elderwood Home Care!

Congratulations to Lidiya Nazarenko and Irina Tsybulskaya of Family Care Extended!

Congratulations to Marriannys Zabala, Janepher Laurent, and Madeline Cardenales of Home Health Foundation.

Congratulations to Sandra Brown and Marie Alexe Jean of HouseWorks.

Congratulations to Deborah Hague and Colleen Bellew of Mainstay.

Congratulations to Dora Williams and Jennifer Lau of Partners Healthcare at Home.

Congratulations to Edna Ofori-Mitchel and Nontuthuzelo Pepi Masilela of Traditions Home Health Services.

Congratulations to Francisca Depina and Maritza Del Rosario of Upham’s Corner Health Center.

Congratulations to Jennifer O Djan and Theresa Alejandro of Visiting Angels of Chelsea.

Congratulations to Audrey Kaddu and Marthe Komenzimana of Visiting Angels of Chelmsford.

Congratulations to Stella Spencer and Sallay Mboyawa of Visiting Angels of Newton/Canton.

Congratulations to Alex Casimir and Marion Kettell of VNA Care.

Home Care Agency Advantage Video Series: Agency Services & Benefits

The Alliance is proud to announce its Agency Advantage Video Series. In each video, families, clients, & caregivers describe how agencies provide superior service where it’s most wanted: In the home. This first video describes agency services & benefits.

Why work with a home care agency rather than hire a nurse or aide directly? Agencies provide significant benefits and fewer risks over competitors in the areas that matter the most to those receiving care.

The Alliance’s Agency Advantage Video Series offers a more complete answer from people with first-hand experience. In each video, families, clients, caregivers, and agency managers describe how home care agencies provide superior service where clients want it the most: In their own homes.

Agency Services & Benefits

Home care agencies provide the expertise, flexibility, and security families want. Why hire a single aide when you could hire a whole home care team for your loved ones?

We need your help to spread the word about The Agency Advantage. Please use the buttons above to share this video on social media. To learn more about the entire series and how to easily include these videos on your website, visit the Agency Advantage Distribution page.

2020 Private Care Guides Connect Families & Home Care Agencies

For more than a decade, the Guides to Private Home Care Services have connected tens of thousands of families with the home care agencies that best meet their needs. While our Resource Directory is intended for professionals who make regular referrals, the Private Care Guides are designed for consumers and are always available at no charge, with free shipping on most orders. Choose from among three regional editions:

Guide to Private Care Services - South of Boston Edition
Guide to Private Care Services - Boston North Edition
Guide to Private Care Services - Central West Edition

(Click one of the thumbnails to place your free order).

The Guides contain county-by-county cross-references, as well as short essays about:

  • What home care is;
  • How to pay for it;
  • How to choose an agency, and;
  • The advantages of working with a home care agency.

This year, the Guides also honor three of our Home Care Star Awards winners: Me McBride of South Shore VNA, Vinette Tyme of HouseWorks, and Nicole Geddes of Aberdeen Home Care. Congratulations to these amazing care givers!

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

COVID-19 Resources for Home Care & Hospice Agencies

To ensure members have access to information they can trust, the Alliance has put together a COVID-19 Resource Page, linking to federal, state, and other essential sources.

COVID-19

To ensure members have access to information they can trust, the Alliance has put together a COVID-19 Resource Page linking to federal, state, and other essential sources.

We’ll update it as new information becomes available.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

Just Published: 2020 Resource Directories

Considered to be “the bible for home care” in Massachusetts, copies of the the 2020 Resource Directory have been shipped to every case manager, hospital, COA, state legislator, and GCM in Massachusetts. Additional copies are available for purchase.

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

Copies of the the Alliance’s annual referral directory have already been shipped to every case manager, hospital, COA, state legislator, and GCM in Massachusetts. Members will also receive copies in the mail this week.

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

New this year, it’s now easier than ever to find agencies who provide hospice care, which now has its own checkmark in the Cities & Towns section.

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

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

Talking Home Care: Marijuana and the Workplace

Pat Kelleher speaks with Layla G. Taylor about what employers need to know about marijuana.

Taylor and Kelleher

With many states (including Massachusetts) decriminalizing marijuana in recent years, home care agencies and other employers find themselves having to answer questions they never thought to ask. How do I protect my clients? What are my employees’ rights? Am I still allowed to issue drug tests and, if so, under what circumstances?

For the 13th episode of the Talking Home Care podcast, Pat Kelleher explores these and other questions with Layla Taylor, a partner at Sullivan, Hayes & Quinn and an expert in employment and labor law.

(If you’re a return listener from iTunes, please subscribe to the podcast; we moved the feed to a new location last year).

You may listen to the podcast by clicking any of the platform images above, clicking “play,” or downloading it directly (Length: 25 minutes; Size: 19 MB). If you enjoy the podcast, please give us a five-star review so others can find it.

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

GuestsLayla G. Taylor is an attorney with Sullivan Hayes & Quinn who focuses on labor and employment law.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.