The budget amendments important to home care are up for debate today in the Massachusetts Senate.
The Home Care Alliance’s priority amendments include restoring the 20-percent rate cut for MassHealth home health visits past 60 days, creating a commission to study home health services and recommend oversight measures, and allowing MassHealth to continue their work to establish telehealth services provided by home care agencies.
- #684 – Senator Patricia D. Jehlen: Study Commission for Home Health Care Services and Oversight
Purpose: The Commonwealth is one of only five states without either licensure or a “determination of need” process for oversight of home health care. In recent years the Commonwealth has experienced rapid growth in the number of certified home health agencies. This proposal is in response to that growth and would help to identify the current number of home health agencies, services provided and available by region, and create recommendations for state oversight and quality standards.
- #839 – Senator Kathleen O’Connor-Ives: Restoring Home Nursing Rates
Purpose: This budget language seeks to restore the MassHealth rate for home health nursing visits past 60 days of care to the payment level prior to the rate cut of December 1, 2008 so that patients with the most severe conditions can have their care continued and remain independent at home. This amendment creates a consistent rate for as long as an individual on MassHealth requires home health care.
- #929 – Senator Richard T. Moore: Establishing Reimbursement for Telehealth Services Provided by Home Health Agencies
Purpose: Maintain language from the FY2014 budget that established MassHealth reimbursement for home telehealth services provided by a home health agency, immediately providing cost savings and more efficient care. MassHealth is in the process of building corresponding rates and guidelines.
The Alliance is also supporting the Homemaker Wage Increase (#683) and increased funding for the state’s elder services programs (#687).
A full update will be available when the Senate completes debate, but HCA members and advocates can still send an email to their state senator here and follow the Alliance on Twitter (@thinkhomecare) for updates.
Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.