An evening vote to approve the Health and Human Services portion of the House FY12 budget brought with it a restoration in funding for adult day health services, at least until the end of 2011.
The Governor had proposed in his initial budget a $55 million cut to the program, which would have eliminated the “basic” level of service that provides for roughly 11,000 people. The Home Care Alliance was part of a coalition of advocates led by the Massachusetts Adult Day Services Association that attracted a whopping 94 cosponsors out of 160 state representatives.
The amendment did eliminate the Health Promotion and Prevention (HPP) level of service, which is technically less intensive than the Basic level. It also directs Health and Human Services to impose a temporary moratorium on the enrollment of new adult day health providers as well as expansion of the certified capacity of already approved adult day health providers.
Moreover, the amendment tightens cost reporting reviews, sets up a study group to review and recommend improvements in rate setting methodology and program structure and future needs.
Another major step taken with the House budget was to include language limiting the current punitive treble-damages law to “willful” violations of the wage and hour statute only. The Home Care Alliance supported the amendment to the House budget regarding the treble damage law offered by Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM).
According to AIM, the current law penalizes companies that have done nothing outrageous, have not acted with an evil motive, and have not acted with reckless indifference to employees’ rights. The same would be true in the case of a good-faith dispute over whether an employer owes commissions.
Aside from Adult Day Health, the House approved:
- An additional $1 million (over the Governor’s proposed budget) for Elder Protective Services.
- An additional $1 million for grants to Councils on Aging
The budget process will move on to the Senate where the Home Care Alliance will continue to push for Adult Day Health, the Treble Damage Law fix and other home health-related measures that were unsuccessful in the House. MassHealth rate restoration past 60 days of care, MassHealth reimbursement for telehealth, improvements to pediatric home care services, and improving care transitions will all be on the agenda.
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