As expected, the House and Senate Chairs of their respective Committees on Ways and Means will co-chair a six-member conference committee that will work out the differences between the House and Senate budget plans.
The House-approved plan calls for $36.32 billion while the Senate plan was set at $36.4 billion. Although they are similar in terms of total amounts, there are some important differences in both funding support and policy changes.
The Home Care Alliance sent a letter outlining those differences as they pertain to home care services in a letter to each conference committee member.
Here are the main bullet points from that letter where the HCA is asking for support:
- Senate Amendment #929: Home Telehealth
- This language was passed in the FY14 budget and allows MassHealth the policy support necessary to continue work on establishing rates and guidelines for home telehealth services.
- Home Telehealth involves remote vital signs monitoring equipment. This service offers immediate cost savings by reducing the frequency of home health visits paid for by MassHealth, along with reduced hospitalizations through improved medication adherence, patient self-management and timely follow-up care.
- Senate Amendment #683: Homemaker Wage Increase
- Approved by a unanimous roll call vote in the Senate, this amendment increases pay by approximately $.75 cents per hour for homemakers and personal care homemakers serving clients enrolled in the Executive Office of Elder Affairs Home Care Program.
- Senate Outside Section Relative to the Home and Community-Based Services Policy Lab
- This language and corresponding funding would support the study of the cost-effectiveness of state-funded home and community-based services.
- House Support for Elder Services Home Care Purchased Services (9110-1630)
The Alliance encourages home care agency members and advocates to contact the conference committee this week to ask for their support using the bullet points above. Here are the names and contact info for conference committee members:
- Senator Stephen M. Brewer (Chair of Senate Committee on Ways & Means)
- Senator Jennifer L. Flanagan (Vice Chair, Senate Committee on Ways & Means)
- Senator Richard Ross (Senate Committee on Ways & Means)
- Representative Brian S. Dempsey (Chair, House Committee on Ways & Means)
- Representative Stephen Kulik (Vice Chair, House Committee on Ways & Means)
- Representative Viriato Manuel deMacedo (House Committee on Ways & Means)
Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.