PARCR - Posts Published in February 2017

Tidbits for the New Year 2017

2/1/2017 - PARCR Admin

The Department of Heath Services and Aging Announced the delay in Community Health Choices implementation. The implementation will now begin January 1, 2018 in the Southwest region; July 1, 2018 in the Southeast region; and January 1, 2019 in the remainder of the state (as previously planned).

The 2017-2018 session of the Pennsylvania General Assembly officially started on, January 3, 2017, when members of both the House and Senate were sworn into office. While there are 28 new freshman, 6 in the Senate and 22 in the House, there are little changes in the leadership. The only new leader is Stan Saylor (R-York) who was elected chair of the House Appropriations Committee following the retirement of Bill Adolph (R-Delaware). The other change of committee chair that is relevant to LeadingAge PA is the Senate Health and Human Services Committee which will now be led by Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne) following the retirement of Pat Vance (R-Cumberland). The LeadingAge PA Government Affairs team is scheduling legislative breakfast across the state for spring. More details will be shared as plans are finalized.

At the January 11, 2017 Quarterly PARCR Meeting, Scott and Steve Dardick from AIA Benefits Resource Group gave a presentation titled Understanding Medicare and Jennifer Holcomb, Director of Memory Support at Cross Keys Village - The Brethren Home Community presented on Memory Support Today and Tomorrow. The power point presentations can be seen on the PARCR website.

The General Assembly came back in session Monday, January 23 through Wednesday, January 25, 2017. According to LeadingAge PA 's report, as an open solvo to the budget, House Republicans led by Stan Saylor (R, York), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, introduced HB 218. LeadingAge PA is currently reviewing the bill to determine Medicaid funding for long-term care and will provide additional information at a later date.

As a reminder, the Governor will unveil his budget proposal on Tuesday, February 7. There is no information on this time regarding what the Governor will include in his proposal for long-term care and senior service providers The LeadingAge Government Affairs team will closely monitor the budget process and provide you with information as it becomes available.

On January 27, 2017, LeadingAge PA participated on a conference call with Governor Wolf’s office regarding his intention to form a brand new state agency which will bring together the Departments of Health, Human Services, Aging and Drug & Alcohol Programs into the Department of Health & Human Services. This change is being made in order to better serve Pennsylvanians as well as to provide efficiency in state government. All affected state agency staff were also informed of this change the same day. A public announcement will be made early next week and further details will be shared in the Governor’s Budget address on February 7, 2017. LeadingAge PA will inform you as further detail becomes available.

Save the Dates! LeadingAge PA's 2017 Annual Conference & Exposition happens June 21-23 in Hershey. This year's theme? CONNECT.

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February Tidbits

2/21/2017 - PARCR Admin

LeadingAge PA reported the following information the day that Governor Wolf announced his fiscal year 2017-2018 budget proposal.

On February 7, 2017, Governor Wolf announced his proposed budget for state fiscal year 2017-2018 before a joint session of the General Assembly. The Governor started by discussing a number of issues that he touted as successes for Pennsylvania during his two years as Governor. These issues include reform of the liquor control system, passage of the medical marijuana law, addressing the underfunding of the school system, increasing funds to fight the opioid epidemic and the creation of 82,000 more jobs in Pennsylvania than before his tenure.

The Governor then went on to say that there is still more work to be done if Pennsylvania is to close the structural deficit, but he claimed that solutions must be responsible and put schools and seniors first. In his efforts to put schools first, the Governor proposed $125M additional funding for all levels of education. The Governor also stated that through efficiencies his $32.3 billion proposal includes savings of more than $2 billion - although the details on the savings are difficult to determine at this point.

As for the Governor's claim that he is putting seniors first, it is difficult to unravel as the Governor's budget proposal merges the funding of the Departments of Aging, Health, Human Services and Drug & Alcohol Programs. For our nursing facility members, the Long Term Care Line Item is merged with most if not all of what had previously been Department of Aging Programs. This merging of numbers makes it difficult at this point to determine exactly what the numbers might mean. That said, it does not appear that the Governor included a rate increase in his proposal.

What is apparent is that the Long Term Care or "Nursing Facility" line item will over time become the Community HealthChoices line item. Moneys from the Aging Waiver as well as the other home and community-based waivers that serve individuals with physical disabilities have been moved from individual line items into long term care for community health choices.

For our LIFE providers, an additional $7 million in state funds is included in the Governor's proposal to serve an additional 600 individuals plus $7.1 million to expand the program to an additional nine counties.

LeadingAge PA will provide further information on the specifics of the Governor's proposal as they become available.

Read a Message from Ron Barth, President and CEO of LeadingAge PA.

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