Talking Home Care: Serving Clients & Protecting Staff During the Pandemic

Cheryl Rumley—founder and president of Apex Homecare—offers a powerful, first-person account of her experience running an agency during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

For the 16th episode of Talking Home Care, Pat talks with Cheryl Rumley, founder and president of Apex Homecare in Springfield, Massachusetts. Cheryl offers a powerful, first-person account of her experience running an agency during the pandemic. Like many owners, Cheryl had to figure out how to care for her clients while also looking out for her employees’ safety and need to care for their own families.

They also discuss Cheryl’s connection to the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic and Governor Charlie Baker’s leadership during the last 18 months.

You may listen to the podcast by clicking any of the platform images above, clicking “play,” or downloading it directly (Length: 21 minutes; Size: 15 MB).

Cheryl Rumley and Pat Kelleher
Cheryl Rumley and Pat Kelleher

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

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

Alliance Partners with RBC Ltd on OSHA Manual

Barbara Citarella
RBC’s Barbara Citarella

In response to the new OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard issued in June, the Alliance has teamed up with Barbara Citarella of RBC Limited to produce an e-book on Workplace Safety for Occupational Exposure to COVID-19. The document includes model policies and multiple forms in the addendum section that will be helpful as guidance for compliance with the OSHA Standard. The manual can also serve as a template for any other infectious communicable diseases. All documents may be used as is or may be personalized by using PDF editing software.

We will be working with RBC to market this new manual nationwide. Alliance members can be the first to purchase your copies here!

2021 Annual Report

Our 2021 Annual Report highlights the Alliance and Foundation’s achievements over the past 12 months, and looks forward to our post-COVID future.

Our 2021 Annual Report highlights the Alliance and Foundation’s achievements over the past 12 months.

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:

  • Distributed donated PPE valued at over $150,000 through multiple distributions of free hand-sanitizer, gloves, gowns, face shields, and other PPE through a partnership with the Massachusetts Health & Hospitals Association and offered PPE at a competitive group discount price through our partnership with American Advertising Specialties.
  • Published 50 special member newsletters devoted exclusively to COVID topics – issued daily during the height of the public health emergency.
  • Worked with the Betsey Lehman Center on a PPE video series specific to home care and prepared an accompanying CEU PowerPoint and test for agencies to use alongside the video, including: Don/Doff PPE, Infection Control in the Home, and Video Pre/Post Test with Answers.
  • Developed two educational flyers on COVID for members to leave in the homes of clients/patients. The “Safe Holiday” flyer encouraged safe social distancing during holiday celebrations, and the “Wear Your Mask” brochure reinforced safety with patient families when a home care worker was in the house. The “Wear Your Mask” brochure was also translated into Spanish.
  • Advocated on social media when home care was excluded from the first round of health care worker vaccines. This generated more than 150 tweets (from over 40 accounts) and resulted in Governor Baker recognizing home care at a press event and moving up vaccine access date.
  • Worked with the MHA Post-Acute Care Transitions workgroup on a universal pre-discharge COVID testing protocol.
  • 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.
  • Secured the continuation (post-COVID) State of Emergency of Medicaid coverage of telehealth visits.
  • Answered hundreds of member regulatory questions related to the pandemic.
  • Hosted a COVID-19 Resource page that includes Allied member COVID resource services and that generated more than 6,500 unique page views.

Other 2020-2021 Work

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

  • Succeeding in passing a FY 21 budget request for $17 million in money for home health aides and homemakers.
  • Helped to establish, and was appointed to, a commission to create a framework for licensure of private home care for the state Legislature to consider.
  • Completely revamped both our Find-an-Agency and our Allied member online directories with more information per company, and in a more readily accessible, clearer format.
  • Hosted dozens of member webinars , such as: Paid Family Medical Leave Benefit, the Medicare Home Infusion Benefit, Payroll Protection Loans, ICD-10 Comprehensive Coding
  • Worked with Mass EOEA on a plan for EVV roll out
  • Worked with MassHealth on rewriting home health program regulations.
  • Featured video interviews with agency leaders of color for Black History Month.

Read the full report below.

2021 Private Care Guides Connect Families & Home Care Agencies

The 2021 Private Care Directories will connect thousands of Massachusetts residents with the home care agencies they need.

For 15 years, 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:

2021 Private Care Guide - Boston North
2021 Private Care Guide - Central/West
2021 Private Care Guide - South of Boston

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

Each Guide contains a county-by-county cross-reference, 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 feature Francisca Depina & Maritza DelRosario of Upham’s Corner Health Center/Upham’s Home Health Care, who are among
the #HomeCareHeroes who have given so much to serve their clients
during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

Re-Launched & Improved Online Agency Search

Redesigned from scratch, the Alliance’s new Find an Agency Search is designed to connect families and referral sources with home care agencies quickly and easily.

Redesigned from scratch, the Alliance’s new Find an Agency Search is designed to connect families and referral sources with home care agencies quickly and easily.

The new search is fast and intuitive, allowing users to quickly filter agencies by geography, services offered, agency type, and accreditation status (or any combination of those factors). Alternatively, users looking for a specific agency may search for it by name.

Results update immediately, as users select criteria, and the search counts the number of agencies shown at any given time. Though designed for desktop use, it also works on mobile platforms.

This is a massive improvement over the old search in both design and function, particularly in terms of how it displays search results.

Old Search

New Search

To test the search for yourself, visit www.thinkhomecare.org/agencies. Questions? Contact me at tmeyer@thinkhomcare.org.

Talking Home Care: Employment Law During a Pandemic with Angelo Spinola

Veteran litigator Angelo Spinola answers questions about how agencies are rising to meet the biggest employment law challenges they face, including those posed by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Angelo Spinola and Pat Kelleher

Even in the best of times, human resource issues pose an enormous challenge to home care agencies. But when responding to a global pandemic, many agencies found themselves scrambling to address new questions. How do you help employees with childcare challenges? How do you handle on-boarding (and firing) when everyone is working off-site? Who pays for COVID tests, and how should time spent getting the test be compensated? Can employers require vaccinations?

For the 15th episode of Talking Home Care, Pat speaks with Angelo Spinola of Littler Mendelson, a leading employment law litigator about these and other issues. They also discuss the subscription-based, on-line Home Care Toolkit Littler developed and constantly updates. The Toolkit gives agencies access to a world-class HR resource, policy manual, and document library that’s like adding an expert to your staff.

The Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts has negotiated a special agreement with Littler to give our members access to the Toolkit at a great price, with a portion of all sales supporting the Alliance! To learn more or to order your subscription, contact Melissa Mann at MMann@littler.com or (404)760-3928.

You may listen to the podcast by clicking any of the platform images above, clicking “play,” or downloading it directly (Length: 40 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.

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.