Governor Patrick Announces Proposed Budget

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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