House Ways & Means Releases Budget; Call Now To Support Amendments!

The state’s House Committee on Ways & Means this week released its proposed $36.2 billion fiscal year 2015 budget.

The House budget closely follows the Governor’s budget proposal in most line items related to home care providers, with slightly smaller allocations for MassHealth Senior Care Plans,boston-statehouse and EOEA Administration, and slightly more funding for local Councils on Aging. The House budget does not include the $1.2M Home Care Workforce Training Fund that was in the Governor’s budget.

Several legislative champions will be submitting amendments to the budget at the request of the Alliance. HCA members are encouraged to contact your local state representative TODAY and urge them to co-sponsor the budget priorities listed below.

A pre-written email is available on the Alliance’s Legislative Action webpage. For those choosing to call their local Representatives, please use the information below. Reps can offer formal support by contacting the office of the Representatives that are filing the amendments.

  • Rep. Sean Garballey: Restoring Home Nursing Rates

Purpose: This budget language seeks to restore the MassHealth rate for home health nursing visits past 60 days of care to the payment level prior to December 1, 2008 so that patients with the most severe conditions can have their care continued and remain independent at home.
Reps wishing to sign on can contact Max Chalkin in Rep. Garballey’s office at 617-722-2090 or Maxwell.chalkin@mahouse.gov

  • Rep. Kate Hogan: Study Commission for Home Health Care Services and Oversight

Purpose: The Commonwealth is one of only five states without either licensure or a “determination of need” process for oversight of home health care. In recent years the Commonwealth has experienced rapid growth in the number of certified home health agencies. This proposal is in response to that growth and would help to identify the current number of home health agencies, services provided and available by region, and ensure high levels of quality home care.
Reps wishing to sign on can contact Courtney Rainey in Rep. Hogan’s office at 617.722.2692 or courtney.rainey@mahouse.gov

  • Rep. John Mahoney: Establishing Reimbursement for Telehealth Services Provided by Home Health Agencies

Purpose: Maintain language from the FY2014 budget that established MassHealth reimbursement for home telehealth services provided by a home health agency, immediately providing cost savings and more efficient care. MassHealth is in the process of building corresponding rates and guidelines.
Reps wishing to sign on can contact Zachary Halpern in Rep. Mahoney’s office at 617-722-2450 or zachary.halpern@mahouse.gov

The Home Care Alliance will also be supporting an amendment from Representative James O’Day to reestablish the Homemaker Wage Increase account. This appropriation would provide an annualized wage increase of approximately 75 cents an hour to over 17,000 homemakers and personal care homemakers. Representative can contact Kelly Love in Chairman O’Day’s office at 617-722-2810 or kelly.love@mahouse.gov to sign on.

For more information on how you can help support these important budget amendments, please contact James Fuccione at the Alliance.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

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