Legislative Tidbits by Gail Stelger

What would you like to know?

Here is some brief information on updates from LeadingAge PA. If you would like some more in depth information, please feel free to call me at 717-624-7715 or 610-392-1313 (cell) or e-mail me at gailstelger@hotmail.com. If you want the whole story, contact Anne Henry at anne@leadingagepa.org or 717-790-3949.

More November Tidbits

11/15/2017 - PARCR Admin

LeadingAgePA has released the following information:

Community HealthChoices Update: Implementation Delay for Phases 2 and 3

The Department of Human Services (DHS) announced this week that it would delay the implementation of Community HealthChoices (CHC) for Phase 2 and Phase 3, while Phase 1 will begin, as planned, on Jan. 1, 2018.

Phase 2 will now begin on January 1, 2019, instead of July 1, 2018
Phase 3 will now begin on January 1, 2020, instead of January 1, 2019

LeadingAge PA commends DHS for providing the additional time to allow for the deliberate and purposeful implementation of CHC in the southeast region (Phase 2) and the remainder of the state (Phase 3).

LeadingAge PA continues to actively engage with DHS as it works through the implementation of CHC, to urge clarifications and process improvements needed by members. We will continue to provide updates and information as available.

News Update: Pennsylvania now has a budget.

Final State Budget for 2017/2018 – On October 30, 2017, Governor Wolf signed several pieces of legislation which finalized the state budget for fiscal year 2017/2018. For LeadingAge PA members, the budget is mainly about keeping the status quo.

The General Appropriations Bill, HB 218 (Saylor, R, York) which became law without the Governor’s signature on July 11, 2017 held no Medical Assistance rate increases for nursing facilities or home and community based service providers.

The Fiscal Code Bill, HB 674 (Sponsorship withdrawn) included $8M for the non-public Medical Assistance Day One Incentive Payment. Additionally, the Fiscal Code made modifications to the Nursing Facility Provider Assessment requiring nursing facilities to pay timely and submit all payments electronically. For providers who don’t pay timely and don’t request a payment plan, DHS will begin to aggressively pursue collection of not only the assessment but the penalties and interest allowed by law.

The Administrative Code Bill, HB 118 (Kauffer, R, Luzerne) increases a number of fees that will affect members including elevator and boiler inspection fees. The bill also increases the cost of death certificates to $20 and allows the State Police to increase the cost of Criminal History Background checks after giving public notice. One piece of good news in the bill is that LIFE providers will no longer need a license for their adult day center from the Department of Aging.

In order to close the revenue gap of approximately $1.2B, the final budget requires a transfer of $200M from the Joint Underwriting Association; expands gaming to add additional categories and locales which is scheduled to bring in $200M in the first year and monetizing $1.5B of future tobacco fund settlements. LeadingAge PA has already started discussions with budget officials regarding Medical Assistance funding for long term care services and supports.

Reminder: Action Needed

Ask your U.S. Congressman to preserve medical expense deduction and tax-exempt financing for senior housing including CCRCs.

Tax reform legislation (H.R. 1) has been introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives and will soon come to a vote. Please see LeadingAge (national)’s action alert for additional information and talking points on the bill, click here for a letter to members of the House of Representatives from LeadingAge (national) President and CEO Katie Sloan. Call your Congressman TODAY at 855-837-6894.

The Senate has released its Tax reform bill. More information will be reported if LeadingAge makes comments after reviewing the bill.

Read more...

LeadingAge Member Alert November

11/8/2017 - PARCR Admin

Medical Expense Deduction and Tax-Exempt Financing on the Chopping Block

Major tax reform legislation, H.R. 1, has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and will soon come to a vote.

The bill contains 2 provisions of serious concern to aging services providers and the elders they serve: 1. Elimination of the tax deduction for medical expenses. 2. Elimination of tax-exempt financing for the development and preservation of affordable senior housing and life plan communities/CCRCs.

This radical legislation would disproportionately affect older adults, many of whom have higher than average medical costs and/or need affordable housing.

Congress needs to hear from you today. Tell your lawmakers to protect the medical expense deduction and tax-exempt financing for senior housing and life plan communities/CCRCs. Tell them older adults need this. Tell them protecting these tax provisions is the right thing to do.

How You Can Help

  • Call your lawmakers TODAY at 855-837-6894. We’ve set up this toll-free number to connect you directly to their offices.
  • Share this information with the residents in your community and suggest that they call as well. The proposed changes will directly impact them.
  • Forward this action alert to your network.

Steps for Making a Call

  • Dial this toll-free number 855-837-6894.
  • Feel free to use the sample script below when you talk to the staff person who answers the phone.
  • After talking with the staff person, do not hang up. The automated system will connect you to your representative and then to each of your senators.

Background

My name is _ and I am a constituent. I urge Representative/Senator __ to oppose provisions of H.R. 1, tax reform legislation that would eliminate the medical expense deduction.

Also, please preserve tax-exempt financing for the development and preservation of affordable senior housing and retirement communities, which would be eliminated under H.R. 1.

I hope Representative/Senator __ will stand up for older adults and protect these crucial tax benefits for seniors and middle-income families.

Here is additional information for contacting Pennsylvania Senators:

Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-PA)
Website: toomey.senate.gov
Washington DC Office
248 Russell Senate Office Building
District of Columbia 20510
Phone: (202) 224-4254
Fax: (202) 228-0284
Harrisburg: (717) 782-3951

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA)
Website: casey.senate.gov
Washington DC Office
393 Russell Senate Office Building,
District of Columbia 20510
Phone: (202) 224-6324
Fax: (202) 228-0604
Harrisburg: (717) 231-7540

Below is a link to an alert message released by NaCCRA shortly before the tax plan was unveiled. This alert has some additional contact information and statements that may be helpful.

Take Action

Urge Congress to keep the medical deduction in the tax reform proposal. Read and download NaCCRA Alert and Call to Action.

We need you to take action immediately, the House is considering the bill this week.

Read more...

LeadingAge Member Alert

11/8/2017 - PARCR Admin

Take action! Share with your residents who may be affected if Congress eliminates the medical expenses deduction in their tax reform policy.

The below action alert from LeadingAge (national) contains information about how to contact your Senators and Representative.

Don’t Let Congress Take Away the Medical Expense Deduction

Congress is developing major tax reform. While few details have been released, one of the changes being considered is elimination of the deduction for medical expenses. Losing this important deduction would hurt many older adults. Elders living in some life plan communities deduct a portion of their fees as pre-paid medical expenses in case they need nursing home care. They would lose this important deduction—as would many older adults living in other care settings. Others with high medical bills would be similarly affected.

This radical proposal would disproportionately affect older adults, many of whom have higher than average medical costs.

Congress needs to hear from you today. Tell your lawmakers to protect the medical expense deduction. Tell them older adults need this important deduction. Tell them protecting it is the right thing to do.

How You Can Help

  • Call your lawmakers TODAY at 844-802-8508. We’ve set up this toll-free number to connect you directly to their offices.
  • Email your lawmakers.
  • Share this information with the residents in your community and suggest that they call as well. The proposed changes will directly impact them.
  • Forward this action alert to your network.

Steps for Making a Call

  • Dial this toll-free number 844-802-8508.
  • Feel free to use the sample script below when you talk to the staff person who answers the phone.
  • After talking with the staff person, do not hang up. Allow the staff person to hang up, and the automated system will then connect you to your other senator.

Background

My name is _ and I am a constituent. I urge the Senator/Representative to preserve the tax deduction for medical expenses when drafting tax reform legislation.

This deduction is important to many seniors and other Americans with high medical expenses. Losing this deduction would hurt many seniors and their families.

Please ask the US Senator/Representative to stand up for older adults and protect this crucial deduction.

Contact Us

If you have any questions or concerns about this message or about CHC, please contact Anne Henry at anne@leadingagepa.org or 717-790-3949.

Read more...

Legislative Tidbits in Preparation for Fall 2017

9/12/2017 - PARCR Admin

On August 30, 2017 LeadingAge (National) announced it has established a Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. LeadingAge members and friends can help by donating to the LeadingAge Hurricane Harvey relief fund to benefit LeadingAge member organizations and their staff: Click here to donate 100% of the funds go to the relief effort.

LeadingAge PA announced that recently there have been a number of changes in high-ranking positions at both the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Human Services (DHS). At DHS, Governor Wolf has moved Insurance Commission Teresa Miller to the position of Acting Secretary. Jessica Altman will serve as Acting Insurance Commissioner. At DOH, Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania’s Physician General, assumed the role of Acting Secretary of Health after Karen Murphy’s departure. Additionally, the Deputy Secretary for Quality Assurance, which oversees licensing of all health care entities, is currently held by Shannon Baker.

LeadingAge PA Participates in Medicare Red Tape Project

The U.S. House Ways & Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Health recently requested recommendations on how to reduce the “red tape” that hampers Medicare providers. LeadingAge PA identified 12 issues and provided suggestions for improvement, beginning with the recommendation to change the nursing facility survey process so that they are judged on overall outcomes of care, and also included recommendations about the Five-Star Quality Rating System and the Value Based Purchasing requirements.

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Special Tidbit Announcements for March

3/18/2017 - PARCR Admin

Please read the two announcements from LeadingAge PA: 2017 Legislative Breakfasts scheduled for April – May and Fraud alert: HHS OIG hotline telephone scam.

Anne Henry, Senior VP & Chief Government Affairs Officer, has noted that when attending the legislative breakfast in your area, there are opportunities for having a positive impact. If you have a personal story of someone you know who has required nursing home care, it is recommended you let your representative know the story and how important it is to adequately fund these services for their constituents. Personal stories emphasize how 24 hour care is required for many people who cannot be adequately cared for at home with services.

Read more...