Organizations Send Joint Letter to Legislators on CORI issue

A group of six long-term and community care organizations sent a joint letter to key state legislators regarding cutbacks that have resulted in a burdensome delay in CORI processing.

The organizations – Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Senior Care Association, Massachusetts Council for Home Care Aide Services, the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute, Massachusetts Assisted Living Facilities Association, and MassAging  – voiced concern over a substantial reduction in staff to the Criminal History Systems Board (CHSB) who, among other things, process Criminal Offender Record Information for employers.

Click here to read the joint letter sent to legislators.

The group of organizations, and the members they serve, were informed that processing delays could take up to six weeks from the former turnaround time of two days. Until the state realizes the goal of an automated system where access to information for employers and landlords is near instantaneous, the joint letter asks that an alternative be reached so that agencies can hire staff to, in turn, deliver the necessary care that patients require.

For the latest updates on CORI processing delays and other pertinent news, check the CHSB website by clicking here.

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Congressman Barney Frank Responds to Alliance Letter

The Alliance recently received a response from the office of Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank after Home Care Alliance Executive Director Patricia Kelleher urged him to sign onto two home health initiatives:  One was a letter opposing damaging cuts to home health and the other asked that he sign on to the Home Health Working Group.

Both of those initiatives were led by Frank’s colleague, Congressman Jim McGovern. The Alliance appreciates the response and the support that Congressman Frank offered.  Click here to see the sign-on letter opposing cuts to home health, along with the supporting signatures from members of Congress.

See the Alliance’s letter sent to Congressman Frank below, which was sent to the entire state’s Congressional Delegation in late April, and click here to see Frank’s response.

Dear Congressman Frank:

On behalf of Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts, I urge you to sign on to a pair of initiatives championed by your colleagues James McGovern and Walter Jones that opposes home health care cuts in the President’s budget and establishes a House Home Health Working Group.

Home-based services promote independent living for seniors and other individuals in need of care, which help them to remain in their communities where they are most comfortable and familiar. These services are cost-effective in keeping patients out of the hospital and nursing homes. At an economically challenging juncture when home health rates are being frozen and reduced in Massachusetts on the state level, we need to encourage and expand the utilization of home-based care rather than make damaging cuts.

The Working Group will look to further the role of home health in our nation’s health care delivery system while the McGovern-Jones “dear colleague” letter – addressed to the Committee on Ways & Means – resists the President’s proposal to cut Medicare home health payments by $13.16 billion over the next five years. If the President’s proposal is allowed to pass, Massachusetts would lose $16.7 million in Medicare reimbursement for fiscal year 2010 alone. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) report may have uncovered sporadic fraud in home health, but a better approach to controlling Medicare home health spending is to prosecute and punish the few agencies responsible for that fraud instead of reducing rates.

Again, please contact the offices of Congressman McGovern and/or Congressman Jones to support your constituents who deliver and receive home health care services.


Patricia Kelleher
Executive Director

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Alliance Testifies on Nurse Delegation

One of the Alliance’s highest legislative priorities, Senate Bill 860, An Act Relative to Home Health Aides, came before the Joint Committee on Public Health for a hearing on July 28. A coalition of home health agencies and supporting organizations attended to comment favorably on the bill, which is aimed at refining the state’s Nurse Practice Act (NPA) to allow the administration of certain medications to a home health patient by a trained and certified home health aide.

Home Care Alliance Board President and Executive Director of Hebrew Senior-Life Home Health Care  Patricia O’Brien submitted testimony, which you can view by clicking here.

O’Brien was joined by Norwell VNA Executive Director Meg Doherty, Stoughton VNA Executive Director Lisa Parent, and VNA of Boston Home Health Aide Manager Margo Bourne. The bill’s sponsor, Senator Richard T. Moore, came to speak in support of the bill as did Mass Home Care, the Massachusetts Council of Home Care Aides, and the Hospice and Palliative Care Federation of Massachusetts.

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Eagle-Tribune Announces Home Care Manager of the Year

The Eagle-Tribune Online (North Andover, MA and area) announced Kathryn Baker of the VNA of Greater Lowell as the Home Care Alliance’s “Manager of the Year” in their business section.

Click here to the announcement.

Kathryn, known as “Katie” to her co-workers and friends, began her work at VNA of Greater Lowell 20 years ago as a physical therapist, was promoted to Rehabilitation Manager and again promoted to her current position as Director of Rehabilitation. She is now chair of the agency’s Policy and Procedure Committee and a member of the Performance Improvement Committee, Customer Service Committee, and Job Satisfaction Committee. Having earned the respect of her peers and employees, Kathryn’s rehabilitation staff has an excellent retention rate, according to VNA of Greater Lowell Executive Director Nancy Pettenelli, who said most of have been with the agency for more than 10 years.

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2009 Compensation and Benefit Surveys Available

We’re pleased to announce that the 2009 Compensation & Benefits Survey Reports are now available for purchase on our publications store.

The 2009 Compensation & Benefits Survey Reports provide salary and professional rate ranges for all positions in the home care industry. They are indispensable tools for HR managers, proving a quick and accurate reference of industry pay standards for your employees.

The Alliance publishes two surveys: one for Medicare/Medicaid certified agencies, another for private duty agencies.  Both display state-wide results, as well as data based on geographic area and agency size.

The 2009 surveys contain information about prevailing pay and benefits for the full range of positions in home care agencies.  Both surveys list pay and benefits figures for dozens of positions, including: executive, administrative, supervisory, care giving, and clerical positions.  In addition to listing state-wide results, the surveys also publish figures organized by geographic region and company net revenue.

Boston Globe Op-Ed: Finally, Long-Term Home Health Care

Former Boston Globe editorial pages editor and current Senior Fellow at the Harvard AIDS Initiative Loretta McLaughlin wrote about US Senator Ted Kennedy’s effort to include home health in the national reform initiative.

The Op-Ed piece from July 19 highlights Senator Kennedy’s proposal, the associated costs, and how it would work. Click here to read “Finally, long-term home health care.”

McLaughlin writes how the need for home care is immense as is the proper coverage to help people pay for it. She states:

More than 10 million Americans receive home care, and the number will rise rapidly as the population ages. Estimates hold that 75 percent of us will need home care at some point during our lifetime.

This kind of medical/social service is of inestimable benefit to the chronically ill, the elderly, the mentally disabled, and to adults recuperating from a temporary illness. Home-based personal assistance would allow many of them to return to work. And it would be a godsend for the 90 percent of Americans who have had no meaningful protection against this medical expense.

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