State Budget Update: House Ways and Means Releases Budget Proposal

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.

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