Governor Patrick Announces Proposed Budget

January 27, 2011

Governor Deval Patrick released his $30.5 billion budget blueprint for the state that decreases spending by $570 million, which the Governor said is the highest year-to-year cut in the state budget in 20 years.

Fortunately, among the many challenges presented, this budget maintains many home care-related items. The MassHealth Senior Care line item is increased in the Governor’s budget by more than $11.3 million to account for anticipated need. The same reasoning is behind increases in other line items, including, MassHealth Fee-for-Service Payments, MassHealth Essential, and MassHealth Managed Care. To be clear, these increases in funding account for growth of need for services paid for by these line items and does not translate to increased rates of payment.

The Elder Affairs home care line items were also mostly level funded with two exceptions. Home Care Purchased Services lost the funds it gained through FMAP allocation –originating with the federal government and funneled through the state – and through a supplemental budget passed in the waning days of the previous legislative session, which amount to $4.9 million. The other reduction, to “meet projected need due to reform,” was more than $10 million in the Prescription Advantage line item, although the explanation suggests that the federal government, through health care reform, will be picking up the state’s share of funding while maintaining the service.

The budget also accounts for previously announced reductions in Adult Day Health services, which will take effect March 15, 2011. More information on those changes are available here.

The Governor added in his address to the media that he will be filing payment reform legislation very soon.

The Home Care Alliance will continue to advocate for line items important to home care agencies and more information will follow as the budget season progresses.

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Advocacy Alert: Quest for Co-Sponsors

January 26, 2011

The Home Care Alliance has successfully gained legislative sponsors to file the association’s 2011-2012 state legislative priorities and now the focus moves to gaining cosponsors to sign on and support these issues.

Visit HCA’s Legislative Action Center and click “write your legislator” under the top message (“Please Cosponsor Bills that Support Care at Home”).

Many more bills impacting home care agencies, their staff, and patients have been filed and more information on those will be provided on this newsfeed as HCA learns more.

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HCA Welcomes New Member: Home Instead Senior Care of Boston North

January 24, 2011

The Alliance is pleased to welcome its newest member, Home Instead Senior Care of Boston North, a private care agency in Melrose, Massachusetts.

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CMS Posts New Q&A guidance on Face-to-Face Encounters

January 19, 2011

As of this past week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services posted new Questions and Answers regarding the physician face-to-face encounter requirement.

The CMS site with all Q&A’s on the rule, which will be enforced beginning April 1, 2011, is available here, and some of the newest questions are listed below:

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Face-to-Face Encounter Sample Document for Hospitals

January 14, 2011

The Massachusetts Hospital Association has released a helpful guide they are recommending providers use in constructing documentation for the face-to-face encounter rule, which is being implemented currently and will be enforced by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services beginning in April.

The guide was formed by  New Jersey’s Hospital  and Home Care Associations and the Home Care Alliance recommends this to those providers looking for extra direction.

Previous newsfeed posts related to the physician face-to-face encounter rule are available here.

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Rate Changes in Adult Day Health, Adult Foster Care

January 11, 2011

The state’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) made an announcement today regarding rates tied to Adult Day Health, Adult Foster Care and Day Habilitation.

Effective March 15, 2011, EOHHS will decrease the payment rates for adult day health (ADH) services by an average of 7.8%. According to a notice issues by the Division of Health Care Finance & Policy, the proposed rate for Basic ADH services will decrease from $53.93 to $49.98 per day (7.3%); the rate for Complex ADH services will decrease from $68.68 to $62.95 per day (8.3%); and the rate for Health Promotion and Prevention (HPP) services will decrease from $27.86 to $25.69 per day (7.8%).

For more information, see the notices below:

More information is available at the Division of Health Care Finance & Policy Regulations and Hearings website.

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HCA Welcomes New Member: Cape Cod Senior Home Helpers

January 6, 2011

The Alliance is pleased to welcome its newest member, Cape Cod Senior Home Helpers, a private care agency in South Dennis, Massachusetts.

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