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150 Days on the Frontline Without COVID-19 Financial Support from the State

August 6, 2020 — 150 Days on the Frontline Without COVID-19 Financial Support from the State
By: Nicholas Oliver, Executive Director

Today marks 150 days since Governor Gina Raimondo (D-RI) issued Executive Order 20-02 declaring a state of public health emergency in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic's impact on Rhode Island. Since March 9, 2020, Rhode Island's home care and hospice providers have received little support from the Governor's administration by way of access to an adequate and sustainable supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and zero financial support from the $1.25 billion in federal aid designated by U.S. Congress through the CARES Act that Governor Raimondo has unilateral discretion to include supporting the frontline healthcare workforce. Despite providing healthcare to sub-acute and post-acute COVID-19 positive patients, there remains a significant disparity in how the Governor and her administration have treated home care and hospice providers, their frontline healthcare staff, their patients and their families compared to hospitals and skilled nursing facilities, such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities. While The Partnership anticipates that there will be a nominal amount of funding that will be announced in the coming days by the administration, it is not expected that it will adequately respond to the growing number of cases in the community, fulfill gaps in care hours by bringing back displaced frontline workers due to childcare and school closures and reopening restrictions or reward those that have worked throughout the public health emergency without "hazard pay" despite being at heightened risk for COVID-19 exposure. 

Because home care and hospice providers have not been financially supported, nor meaningfully recognized by the administration to date, let me attempt to fill that gap by continuing to express my appreciation to every home care and hospice worker on the frontline of this pandemic. It is my hope and relentless advocacy that Governor Raimondo will rectify this disparity caused within the first 150 days of the public health emergency and that U.S. Congress and the Rhode Island General Assembly will remain committed to supporting the needs of healthcare services to our vulnerable homebound patients and the frontline workers that deliver optimal care, especially during this ongoing pandemic.

Bring the Vote Home Rhode Island

July 20, 2020 — Bring the Vote Home Rhode Island
By: Nicholas Oliver, Executive Director

I am a "home care voter"! This means that I, along with tens of thousands of voters across Rhode Island, consider issues impacting the optimal delivery of healthcare services to homebound patients and clients and the advocacy toward meaningful and sustainable wages for all frontline home care workers when I cast my ballot during the September 8, 2020 primary election and the November 3, 2020 general election. Supporting home care, such as homemaking, personal care attendant services, home health, home infusion, palliative care and hospice, are apolitical on the surface. However, our association, its members, their patients and clients, as well as their families and our direct care workforce, have learned over our thirty year history that funding and resources controlled by our elected officials are absolutely political and impacts our ability to expand access to healthcare services in the home, stability in care hours delivered each week and dignified wages to those 7,800+ Rhode Islanders serving on the frontline delivering healthcare daily in over 20,000 homes across the Ocean State. 

Because funding to support patient and client care has become political, the Rhode Island Partnership for Home Care Political Action Committee officially launched its "Bring the Vote Home Rhode Island" campaign today to educate candidates for the Rhode Island General Assembly on issues impacting home care. Over the next couple of days, 239 candidates for the 75 House of Representatives seats and the 38 Senate seats will receive the 2020 Candidate Survey that identifies pressing issues impacting their constituents that utilize home care or work in our industry. Regardless of a candidate's political affiliation, it is our hope that we learn more about all 239 candidates, their experiences with home care and their level of commitment to support our industry, our patients and clients, their families and our workforce.  

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Statement of Inclusion

June 11, 2020 — Statement of Inclusion
By: Nicholas Oliver, Executive Director

This afternoon, The Partnership’s Board of Directors unanimously voted to adopt a “Statement of Inclusion”. As The Partnership’s Executive Director, I am expressing my support for today’s action:

While the Rhode Island Partnership for Home Care holds longstanding values of supporting diversity and inclusion, the association did not have a written statement that reflects our values. In light of the series of recent events and unprecedented responses from companies and associations across the globe, this opened our eyes to the need for our association to publicly state our concerns about discrimination that some of our colleagues, patients and clients face daily. Rhode Island, like the rest of the country, is a ‘melting pot’ that should celebrate its diversity and inclusion. None of our fellow Rhode Islanders should continue to face barriers based on the color of their skin.

We did not jump to issue a statement in the immediacy of last week’s protests because we wanted to carefully and constructively make a statement that accurately portrays our collective emotions on this issue and how our association can continue to take action to make positive changes for our industry, especially for our colleagues and their patients and clients. The words may never be perfect, but our actions prior to today and into the future will say more than any statement that we release. However, our words must always reflect our mission of ‘Advancing quality healthcare at home’. Unequivocally, we are Rhode Islanders that stand in support of fellow Rhode Islanders. Unilaterally, we are leaders and employers that support our dedicated employees. Unconditionally, we are healthcare providers that care for our patients, clients and their families. It is our hope that the Rhode Island General Assembly appropriately responds to our requests for action that reflects equity for all those that deliver optimal home care services and for all those that receive our care in their time of need.

Statement of Inclusion:

The Rhode Island Partnership for Home Care, as the state’s association for healthcare service providers delivering optimal personal care attendant, home nursing, home infusion, palliative care and hospice, recognizes diversity and inclusion as an essential component of our mission toward “Advancing quality healthcare at home”. We vehemently reject social injustice and barriers to equity in any form. We encourage all of our members to continue to foster workforce diversity and to act as meaningful agents toward change to end inequities and expand efforts contributing toward a better Rhode Island. As community leaders and employers, we believe that this is a time to listen and to change.

While the answers to solving inequalities are complex, multi-faceted and reach far beyond the healthcare services that we deliver, home care as an industry and The Rhode Island Partnership for Home Care as an association by its nature has always been a leader in diversity, advocating for equity and creating jobs and career ladders for all. Throughout the history of our association, we have fought and will continue to fight for a dignified wage and benefits for nurse assistants, nurses, social workers, therapists and office staff that values the quality care that they deliver in every zip code. We led and will continue to lead the charge to have equal access to home care for all Rhode Islanders in their time of need, especially when we have and continue to face barriers by our state and federal governments and their elected and appointed representatives. We want and will continue to advocate for home care workers to receive the respect and appreciation for the work being done every day to keep homebound Rhode Islanders safe and independent with supports regardless of their housing status, race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, gender identification, or physical, behavioral and cognitive abilities.

Unequivocally, we are Rhode Islanders that stand in support of fellow Rhode Islanders. Unilaterally, we are leaders and employers that support our dedicated employees. Unconditionally, we are healthcare providers that care for our patients, clients and their families.

It is time to elevate the wage for home care nurse assistants through substantive reimbursement rate increases by government and commercial insurers to support this change. It is time to end inadequate alternative home care delivery systems that provide subpar quality to minority and disabled patients and clients. Through these actions, our elected leaders will demonstrate that our community values home care workers, many of whom are persons of color, for their work as not just a job, but as a profession with a career track and a healthcare setting of choice for a meaningful career.

Sending a S.O.S. to the Governor During Nurses Week

May 6, 2020 — Sending a S.O.S. to the Governor During Nurses Week
By: Nicholas Oliver, Executive Director

Happy Nurses Week to every nurse throughout Rhode Island, especially those of you that work in home care. You have my gratitude and continuous support. Thank you for your bravery and professionalism as you continue to provide optimal care during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

One week ago, I sent a letter to Governor Gina Raimondo requesting her support for Rhode Island’s home care providers as she prepares to lead our state through its first phase of the reopening process. One week seems like a lifetime ago during this public health emergency, but this weekend is only a couple of days away. As our state economy reopens and the public restrictions loosen, our state’s public health experts are advising us of a surge in COVID-19 positive cases in the community. Some of these patients will require sub-acute and post-acute care from a home care provider. However, without the adequate resources needed to deliver optimal care, home care providers will not be able to support the surge of community cases. 

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Hope, Resiliency and Tenacity: 30 Years of Partnership

April 30, 2020 — Hope, Resiliency and Tenacity: 30 Years of Partnership
By: Nicholas Oliver, Executive Director

Today, the Rhode Island Partnership for Home Care launches its new website. I am excited that this new website will feature a mobile-friendly website design that is easy to navigate on any device you are accessing our website, offer a multi-factor search engine to assist referral sources and the general public to find a provider and provide member-only content through a password protected site that gives our members timely and relevant industry knowledge and guidance at their fingertips.

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