Advocacy Alert: Help Gather Support for Home Care Budget Amendments

April 14, 2014

The Home Care Alliance’s priority amendments in the House budget now have numbers, which means you can email or call your state representative and easily ask that they support these important policies to advance home care services!

  • Amendment #968: Rep. Sean Garballey’s amendment 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. MassHealth cut the rate once a person was receiving home nursing for more than 60 days, which runs counter to the state’s goal of keeping people in the community and driving down the cost of care.
  • Amendment #89: Rep. Kate Hogan’s amendment to study home health service capacity in the Commonwealth and recommend policy strategies for better state oversight of home care agencies. Massachusetts is one of only five states without either licensure or a “determination of need” process for home health agencies. 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 and their licensure and ensure high levels of quality home care.
  • Amendment #491: Rep. John Mahoney and Rep. Mark Cusack’s amendment that would establish MassHealth reimbursement for telehealth services provided by home health agencies. This amendment was successfully passed in last year’s budget and this year’s version will ensure MassHealth is statutorily able to finish their work in creating a regulatory and reimbursement structure.
  • Amendment #775: Rep. James O’Day’s amendment 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.

Our Legislative Action Center makes it easy to advocate. Just click on the FY15 budget message, fill in your contact info, and hit send! The system will automatically send the message to your state representative.

You can also call 617-722-2000 and press “2” to speak to an operator in the House of Representatives to urge your State Rep to support amendments #89, #491, #775 and #968. You can use the talking points above when speaking to an aide or leaving a message.

Contact James Fuccione at the Alliance with any questions.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.


Advocacy Alert: Contact Your State Rep. Today to Support Home Care in FY13 Budget

April 23, 2012

The Massachusetts House of Representatives begins work on their version of the FY13 State Budget today and the Home Care Alliance needs your help sending emails to support home care’s priorities!

Visit our Legislative Action Center or see the issues below to send any of the pre-written messages that concern you and your agency. It only takes ONE MINUTE to enter your contact information, review your information, and the system will automatically send the message to the state representatives for your area.

Urge your state representative to support the following issues:

Restore Home Health Rates

»  Write Your Legislators    »  Read About This Issue  

Support Telehealth Reimbursement from MassHealth

»  Write Your Legislators    »  Read About This Issue  

Support Certificate of Need for Home Care

»  Write Your Legislators    »  Read About This Issue  

Support Pediatric Home Care

»  Write Your Legislators    »  Read About This Issue 

OR

Compose Your Own Message

»  Write Your Legislators

 

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.


State Budget Update: House Ways and Means Releases Budget Proposal

April 11, 2012

The House Committee on Ways & Means released its proposal for the state’s fiscal year 2013 budget and while there are few changes in dollar amounts, here are the initial highlights:

  • The MassHealth Managed Careaccount (line item 4000-0500) follows the Governor’s proposal by increasing $183,988,029 over FY12 spending to $4,164,475,376.
  • The MassHealth Senior Care account (line item 4000-0600) also followed Governor’s budget blueprint by increasing $196,976,192 over FY12 spending to $2,763,630,662 .
  • The MassHealth Fee-for-Service Payments account (4000-0700) maintained the Governor’s proposal of increasing $129,850,745 over FY12 spending to $1,939,680,126.
  • Elder Enhanced Home Care Services (9110-1500) was given a bigger increase by House Ways & Means of $827,853 – as opposed to the Governor’s $672,147 – to a total of $47,289,340.
  • The Home Care Purchased Services account (9110-1630) is level funded at $97.8 million.
  • The Elder Nutrition account (9110-1900) is level funded at $6.3 million, which would restore a cut of $1.5 million made by the Governor.

This all essentially means that House Ways & Means followed the Governor when it came to the MassHealth accounts, which were increased with funding, but only to account for anticipated increases in enrollment. This budget proposal also shows a commitment to the state’s Home Care Program and restores the Elder Nutrition Program that funds “meals on wheels.”

What is not seen is increases to MassHealth home health rates or any language related to telehealth services, pediatric home care and a certificate of need process. The Home Care Alliance is pushing for amendments on these matters and will let member agencies, supporters and advocates know when they are officially submitted.

Additional items of note include a special commission to study elder protective services, increase public awareness of elder abuse, and establish reporting mechanisms.

Stay tuned as more information will be reported as it becomes available.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.


New Congressional District Maps Available

January 19, 2012

Late last year, the state’s Special Joint Committee on Redistricting approved new congressional districts for Massachusetts’s federal delegation.  Due to loss of one seat following the 2010 census, the new lines are significantly altered; this November, members will likely find themselves and their agencies in different districts and/or with different incumbent* representatives.

In order to help sort through the confusion, the Alliance created the following series of interactive, zoomable maps for its members.  Simply browse and zoom through the maps — just as you would on any other Google Map — then click on your district to bring up information about its incumbent.

Again, these maps reflect districts going into this November’s election and do not reflect current Congressional districts or representatives.  The Alliance will post a new series of maps after the election to reflect the state’s actual delegation to the 113th U.S. Congress, as elected by its citizens.

Western & Central Massachusetts (1st & 2nd Districts)

(Rep. John Olver — who currently represents NW Massachusetts — will retire in 2013 and is not shown on this map; his district is being absorbed into its neighbors).

Northeastern Massachusetts (3rd, 5th, & 6th Districts)

(Despite the familiar incumbents, the new district lines are substantially changed).

Downtown Boston & Southeastern Massachusetts (4th, 7th, 8th, & 9th Districts)

(Rep. Barney Frank is retiring from Congress, so the 4th District will have no incumbent running in November; Rep. William Keating — whose district currently includes Quincy and the South Shore — is relocating to his home on Cape Cod, where he will run in the new 9th District).

Return www.thinkhomecare.org.

* Technically, none of the districts will have incumbents as they will all be “new.”  Regardless, all districts save the 4th are expected to have a current congressman on the ballot.


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