PARCR - Posts Tagged with "Budget"

Legislative Alert

6/12/2014 - PARCR Admin

On Tuesday June 10, 2014 we were notified by Leading Age PA that in order to meet procedural deadlines, the House introduced HB 2328, the long-awaited budget bill for fiscal year (FY) 2014-15. The bill is a copy of the budget that was approved for FY 2013-14 and it will serve as a starting point for many amendments and negotiations to come. LeadingAge PA advocated with both the legislature and the Governor's Office for increases from last year's reimbursement rates. The biggest concern with the current fiscal shortfall is the reduction in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) that may result in a loss of over $300 million for the Medical Assistance (MA) program.

It is important that the legislatures know and understand that the current MA funding at last year's appropriation amount is far from what is needed to maintain the level of care expected by our residents. What would be worse is if last year's funding levels were reduced this year because the state did not appropriate funding to offset the loss of FMAP funding. LeadingAge PA is currently working on launching a letter writing campaign for members to communicate this important issue to your legislators.

Please take time to speak with your Community’s Executive Director/CEO for more detailed information. We, PARCR, will keep you informed as we receive additional information.

As Community Representatives, we may be calling upon you to contact your legislators to inform them of how our Communities will be impacted and ask the legislators' assistance in addressing the needs of our residents.

Thank you, George

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Winter Wrap-Up, March 2014

3/31/2014 - PARCR Admin

LeadingAge PA's 2014 Public Policy Objectives Checklist

LeadingAge PA is pleased to introduce you to our Public Policy Objectives Checklist for 2014! Follow our Policy Team as we focus on these priorities now through mid-year. Look for our bi-weekly updates on each objective to stay informed and be sure to print and retain this checklist and mark the check box next to all eleven. (Click on Public Policy Objectives Checklist above to view)

Let the Budget Hearings Begin

This Monday (2-10-14) marks the start of Appropriations Committee Hearings on the FY2014-2015 Pennsylvania Budget. Each of the Commonwealth Departments will testify before both the House of Representatives and the Senate over the next several weeks. LeadingAge PA will be present for each of the hearings relative to our members, including the Departments of Aging, Health, Insurance and Public Welfare.

LeadingAge PA Regional Policy Forums

LeadingAge PA will hold three Regional Policy Forums to discuss our 2014 public policy objectives and planning for the second-half of 2014. these forums are open to all LeadingAge PA members and is an opportunity to share policy ideas, discuss advocacy efforts and offer suggestions for outreach to fellow members, legislators and administration officials.

Please reply to Amanda Cyster by email with your name, organization and forum you will be attending.

Introducing LeadingAge PA's Legislative & Regulatory Issues Calendar!

LeadingAge PA’s Legislative & Regulatory Issues Calendar is now available to members on our website! Use our Issues Calendar to track pending legislation, access detailed LeadingAge PA summaries, positions and advocacy call outs, and to monitor session days and comment periods. To access information, simply Go to our Calendar, click the bill and choose "Read More" to read analyses and current amendments anytime.

House Bill #1702 Leaves Committee

Yesterday (3-12-14), the House Aging and Older Adult Services Committee unanimously passed an amended version of House Bill #1702. After months of collaboration and negotiation, leadingage pa agreed to support the amended version after ensuring 'licensed long-term care service providers' would be included in the drafting process of the community respite services program regulations. both house bills #1702 and #1907 passed through the committee yesterday and are now GREEN on LeadingAge PA’s new online Issues Calendar! Be sure to continue monitoring the bills' progress with us as it travels through the legislative process!

Registration CLOSED: March 27 Webinar on Staff Approaches to Dementia Care

LeadingAge PA registration for our March 27 Webinar, "Exceeding Expectations: Development of a Comprehensive Strategy for Educating Staff and Supporting Person Centered Approaches in Dementia Care", is now closed due to maximum participation limit reached. For those who were planning to participate, please note that the webinar audio and materials will be available to all members on our website post-event.

Upcoming LASS (Lancaster Area Senior Services) Breakfast

LeadingAge PA and LASS will hold a joint breakfast with Lancaster area legislators on Friday, April 25th at Brethren Village, 3001 Lititz Pike in Lancaster beginning at 7:30am. CCRC residents should contact their communities to inquire about attending.

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Transitioning into June, June 2014

6/1/2014 - Laura Paist

CMP Funds to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Facilities

This week the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released a grant solicitation for the reinvestment of federal civil money penalty (cmp) funds to support and further expand the national partnership to improve dementia care in nursing facilities. (legislative update 4 />22/2014)

CMS Proposes FY 2015 SNF Rates & Other Changes

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register today related to the prospective payment system and consolidated billing for skilled nursing facilities (snf) for fiscal year (fy) 2015. a full summary of the proposed rule can be found here…this would result in 5 counties in the commonwealth—columbia, montour, franklin, monroe and adams—becoming urban counties beginning october 1, 2014. cms has proposed a 1-year transition period for all snfs during which a blended wage index will be applied to assist providers adapting to a new designation. leadingage pa is continuing to analyze this proposed rule and work with our partners at leadingage (national) to formulate our comments on these changes. (revenue update 5 />6/2014)

CMS Proposes Changes for Hospice Providers in FY 2015

Thank you to our partners at LeadingAge (national) for sharing their summary and analysis of the rule. (regulatory update 5 />7/2014)

State Revenue Shortfall Grows

In a press release, Pennsylvania's Department of Revenue announced that state revenue shortfalls are much higher than anticipated. This equates to a two-year difference of $1.35 billion, notwithstanding the statutory changes included in the proposed budget. LeadingAge PA continues to track this year's budget process in Harrisburg and will continue to provide updates to members as they become available. You can also visit the IFO online for additional information and revenue estimates. Please contact Joan Bradbury with questions. (Legislative Update 5/8/2014)

2014 Public Policy Objectives: Creating LTC Navigators for Consumers

LeadingAge PA's 2014 public policy objectives checklist has been propelling our advocacy efforts this year as we meet with the legislature and state agencies to discuss issues that affect our members and propose innovative solutions. today, we will be visiting legislative leaders and the governor's office to distribute the newest policy objective card on creating long-term care (ltc) navigators for consumers. you can follow along on our website as each objective is checked off the list!

NorthStar 2.0 - Members are Strategically Positioned: Types of Research to Support Your Strategic Planning Initiatives

Market Study vs. Community Needs Assessment

LeadingAge PA‘s NorthStar 2.0 encourages members to align their core competencies with the needs of the community they serve and to develop key partnerships throughout the continuum of services. To do that, they must have a thorough understanding of their market and the information that is relevant to healthcare providers in their community.

Still no Definitive Answers as to What is in the Budget

Stay tuned for more information! If you have any questions about the Commonwealth's budget, please contact Joan Bradbury.

LeadingAge PA’s Annual Conference & Exposition in Hershey June 18-20, 2014

Stop In to see (or be part of) PARCR’s Exhibition Table

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Tidbits: Wrapping Up April 2015

4/30/2015 - PARCR Admin

Senate unanimously approves Ted Dallas as DHS Secretary

On April 22, the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee held a hearing on the appointment of Ted Dallas as Secretary of the Department of Human Services.

DHS announces adult protective services reporting requirements

This week, the Department of Human Services (DHS) announced mandatory reporting requirements regarding abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment of adults ages 18-59 as covered by the Adult Protective Services Act of 2010.

LeadingAge PA resource on music licensing

Recently, LeadingAge PA has been contacted by members with questions about music licensing fees. Click here for information and links to resources about music licensing requirements.

U.S. House of Representatives THUD funding bill drastically cuts Section 202 PRAC program

The U.S. House of Representatives Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Subcommittee released its 2016 funding bill, which drastically reduces the Section 202 account, cutting funds well below the $365 million that is necessary to renew existing PRAC contracts.

General Assembly back in session this week

May is upon us, and the governor’s budget has yet to be introduced in legislative bill form including the governor’s proposal to expand the sales tax to include nursing facility, residential care facilities and home healthcare services. With only six session days in May, it is difficult to say if anything meaningful will happen regarding the budget process. LeadingAge PA will keep members informed as the discussion on sales tax and the budget moves forward.

LeadingAge PA Annual Conference

Register today for LeadingAge PA's 2015 Annual Conference & Exposition June 17-19 at Hershey Lodge. The conference offers many educational sessions, networking opportunities, and vendors with new products and services of interest.

Please note: PARCR will have a display table at the conference.

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Legislative Tidbits March 2015

3/31/2015 - Laura Paist

SB 4 passed the full Senate on February 17, 2015 with a vote of 30 yays and 19 nays. SB 4, sponsored by Senator Aument (R-Lancaster), is a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of PA, providing for criteria for institutions of purely public charity. The bill has now been received in the House of Representatives and has been referred to the House Finance Committee. A date has not been set for the committee to consider SB 4. LeadingAge PA will continue to strongly advocate for passage of SB 4 and may be calling upon members for assistance with grassroots at some point in the future.

Active Shooter Scenario Training

  • April 6, 9:00AM-noon, Garden Spot Village, New Holland, PA (EAST)
  • April 7, 9:00AM-noon, Masonic Village, Sewickley, PA (WEST)

LeadingAge PA invites long-term care employees to participate in a live education program presented by Sorenson, Wilder & Associates that will provide background, details and training in realistic scenarios to provide long-term care employees with the knowledge needed to protect themselves and their residents during an active shooter event.

LeadingAge PA visited PA delegation during PEAK 2015

The week of March 16, 2015, members and staff from LeadingAge PA visited Congress in Washington D.C. as part of the LeadingAge's (national) PEAK Summit to raise awareness of long term care and senior service topics. Participants advocated for crucial issues such as “fixing” observation days, therapy caps, Medicare sequestration cuts, the Five Star “Quality” Rating System, and funding for low income housing.

Budget hearings are well under way in the state Capitol

Legislative budget hearings on Governor Tom Wolf’s budget proposal are well under way. These hearings allow each state agency to provide detail and answer questions posed by members of the legislative appropriations committees about their portion of the governor’s proposed budget. More…

Older Adults Protective Services Act

Rep. Tim Hennessey reintroduces legislation to amend the Older Adults Protective Services Act. Representative Tim Hennessey (R-Chester), chairman of House Aging and Older Adult Services, re-introduced legislation to update and make necessary improvements to the Older Adults Protective Services Act (Act 79 of 1987). More…

Legislator visits to LeadingAge PA member facilities

The LeadingAge PA Government Affairs team is available to assist members with visits from legislators in several different ways. If you are planning to host a legislator at your facility and would like some help from our team, we are happy to provide you with the legislator’s biography and important talking points. We are also available to attend the visits. If you host meetings with your legislators, we would like to know so that we track these in our database. Your personal relationships with legislators go a long way when the time comes for advocacy issues that are important to LeadingAge PA. Please contact Ana Puig, Director of Legislator Affairs, at <ana@leadingagepa.org> or (717)790-3948.

REMINDER: LeadingAge PA Legislative Breakfasts happening April-May!

Join LeadingAge PA’s Government Affairs team for one of our upcoming Legislative Breakfasts at a location near you. Come meet your elected officials to discuss the importance of the services your facility provides and how it benefits the seniors in your community. This is an excellent opportunity for members to connect with their representatives in an informal, social setting in order to build and foster these important relationships. See dates and locations/learn more…

Save the Dates!

LeadingAge PA's Annual Conference & Exposition June 17-19 in Hershey PA

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Spring and Summer Legislative Tidbits 2015

8/20/2015 - PARCR Admin

Budget Stalemate – Will it End in The Near Future?

On Wednesday, August 19, after weeks of talks between Governor Wolf and Republican majority leaders, budget negotiations took a new twist when Republican leaders made a one-time budget proposal offer on education funding and pension reform to the Governor. On the education front, the Republican proposal would increase basic education to $400 million for public schools. This is the same amount that Governor Wolf requested during his budget address this past March. In exchange for the Wolf education plan, the Republicans have asked for a pension reform proposal which would move the state’s retirement system to a private sector-like 401(K) plan affecting future state government workers and public school employees. This pension plan is very similar to the one vetoed by the Governor on July 9, 2015. The House sessions resume August 25, and the Senate is in recess until September 21 unless sooner recalled by their respective leaders.
A response from Governor Wolf is expected at any time.
Even though there is a budget impasse, the commonwealth must continue operations for all critical functions that impact the health, safety and/or welfare of the citizens of Pennsylvania. This means Medical Assistance payments to LeadingAge PA members will continue.
The LeadingAge PA Government Affairs team will continue to monitor the budget process and provide updates to members as new information becomes available.

Senators request GAO assessment of 5-star rating system

On August 6, Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting an assessment of the general accuracy and reliability of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) 5-Star Quality Rating System for nursing homes and its usefulness as a consumer tool.

Budget Adjustment Factor (BAF)

On June 19, 2016 a Member Alert was sent out to PARCR members requesting sharing information with their residents to make contacts with State Legislators about the action of the Department of Human Services’ Budget Adjustment Factor (BAF). The BAF formula changes would harm nursing facilities that use state taxpayer money the appropriate way. These facilities spend money to provide better quality care. The DHS’ actions would reward large companies headquartered outside of the Commonwealth. The contacts from non-profit facilities, LeadingAge PA, and PARCR members were heard and the DHS has postponed any action at this time.

Observation Stays

In May a Member Alert was sent out to PARCR members requesting action to urge US Senators to support moving forward on: “Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act of 2015” which has the opportunity to fix the Observation Stay problem. On August 6, 2015, President Obama signed into law H.R. 876, the Notice of Observation Treatment and Implication for Care Eligibility Act. The new law requires hospitals to provide written and oral notification to Medicare beneficiaries receiving observation status for more than 24 hours, rather than admitted as inpatients. Last year on October 22, 2014 Pennsylvania’s Governor signed into effect Act 169. This act brought transparency in Pennsylvania to the hospital/patient by requiring the hospital to provide notice to the patients of their outpatient status after they have spent a full day in the hospital outside the emergency department.

Legislative Breakfasts successful

The last week in May, the LeadingAge PA Government Affairs team attended the last of nine Legislative Breakfasts held throughout the state in April and May. Dozens of elected officials from each region met member organizations' staff and residents and heard stories about the services they provide and how they benefit communities. Thanks to facilities that hosted the events.

Senior Care and the PA Budget with Anne Henry

On May 20, 2015 Anne Henry, Vice President at LeadingAge PA, was interviewed on PCN. The video which highlights that Anne Henry is watching how state government will spend its funds to take care of Pennsylvania’s senior population can be viewed on pcntv.com and searching for Anne Henry.

Department of Transportation proposed rule on license criteria for persons with cognitive impairments

In May The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation issued a proposed rule regarding criteria to obtain or retain a driver's license for those with cognitive impairments, including dementia, by adding a section to disqualify individuals that have a moderately severe cognitive impairment. Responses to the proposed rule will be reviewed before any movement on the proposal will occur.

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September Wrap Up Tidbits

9/30/2015 - Laura Paist

MLTSS (now Community Health Choices) concept paper comment deadline is October 16

Healthcare is being transformed in Pennsylvania and will soon change how seniors receive long-term care.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Pennsylvania Department of Aging (PDA) are accepting comments on the recently released concept paper on Community Health Choices (CHC), the new name for Managed Long-Term Services and Supports (MLTSS). Some changes have been made from the discussion document, including allowing LIFE program participants to choose whether or not to be enrolled in CHC, and excluding non-Medicaid recipients of the Act 150 program. The comment period deadline is October 16. LeadingAge PA’s Managed Care Task Force will review the document and provide comments to DHS. LeadingAge PA encourages members to check the state’s MLTSS/Community HealthChoices webpage for updates.

Please check out the concept paper at the DHS website.

Anne Henry plans to discuss Community Health Choices at the October 14, 2015 Quarterly Meeting at Messiah Village. Feel free to contact Anne Henry at (717) 790-3949 or <anne@leadingagepa.org> with your questions or comments.

Pennsylvania Budget

On September 18, the Senate passed an $11 billion stopgap budget measure, SB 1000 by Senator Browne (R – Lehigh), along party lines with a final vote of 30 to 19. On September 24, in a 117-to-83 vote along party lines, the House passed the $11 billion stopgap budget measure, SB 1000 by Senator Browne. As expected, on September 29 Governor Wolf vetoed the $11 billion stopgap budget. This legislation would have provided four months of funding retroactive to July 1, the start of the current fiscal year, for human services agencies, local government and school districts, and would have allowed the state to release $24 billion in federal funds that have been held up by the budget impasse. Negotiations between the governor and the Republican majority leaders continue as they work toward a compromise budget for the entire 2015-2016 state fiscal year. A meeting reportedly took place September 28; however, there were no major breakthroughs.

The LeadingAge PA Government Affairs team will continue to monitor the budget process and update members as new information becomes available.

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Tidbits for the New Year

1/5/2016 - Laura Paist

Here is the latest information on the PA Budget and Community Health Choices from LeadingAge PA:

Nothing new regarding the PA budget

There is nothing new on the budget front since Dec. 29, 2015, when Governor Wolf used his line-item veto power on the barebones FY 2015-16 budget passed by the General Assembly. The vetoed budget allowed for the release of six months’ worth of emergency funding for basic education, as well as funding for counties and human services. Even though the governor has strongly urged the General Assembly to come back to Harrisburg to continue budget discussions, it is uncertain what will happen next in the budget process. The Senate did, however, hold a brief session on Jan. 5 during which they re-elected Senator Joe Scarnati (R-Cameron, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Jefferson, Mckean, Potter, Tioga) as President Pro Tempore. The Senate will not return to Harrisburg until Jan. 19. The House is scheduled to be in session on Jan. 11 and 12. No other session days have been announced for 2016. The LeadingAge PA Government Affairs team will continue to monitor the budget process and will provide updates to members as new information becomes available.

CHC materials released for public comment.

The Department of Human Services and the Department of Aging released additional draft agreement materials related to the request for proposal to procure Community HealthChoices (CHC). This December-released set of documents includes draft information regarding prior authorization guidelines, quality management and utilization management program requirements, critical incident reporting, and performance measures, among other topics. LeadingAge PA, working with its Managed Care Task Force, will review and comment on this December release of the draft agreement materials.

The Department of Human Services and the Department of Aging announced the agenda for an additional series of meet and greet opportunities with managed care organizations interested in the commonwealth’s proposed Community HealthChoices (CHC) Managed Long Term Services and Supports program. Of special interest to members are the Jan. 13 session from 3:00-5:30 p.m., which includes a discussion of housing opportunities, and the Jan. 14 session from 8:30-11:00 a.m., focused on consumers of Medical Assistance long term services and supports. The programs will be held at the Hilton Harrisburg. A copy of the agenda for both days is available here.

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Tidbits for February 2016

2/28/2016 - PARCR Admin

On February 9, 2016, Gov. Tom Wolf announced his proposed $32.7 billion fiscal year 2016-2017 budget to a joint session of the General Assembly.

The speech and the governor’s spending plan for FY 2016-2017 were posted to the governor’s budget office website. LeadingAge PA staff has been reviewing the information and provides some general information of interest to members.

The governor’s executive budget proposes spending $32.728 billion in general funds in FY 2016-2017, an increase of $2.2 billion over the amounts available for FY 2015-2016. Much of this proposed increase in funding will go to education - $500 million in total. The other increases in funding include $1.6 billion for mandated spending increases and $120 million for all other increases. The governor also included some savings in his budget proposal. Perhaps the most noted one for long-term care is an increase of $92 million to expand home and community based services to drive savings over the long run.

The proposal includes some favorable aspects for the long-term care field. More...

The Department of Human Services budget proposal revealed increased funding for all long-term services and supports funded by Medical Assistance. The most notable of these proposed increases include the following:

  • Funding of $17.828 million to provide a rate increase for nursing facilities as well as an additional $31.398 million for increased utilization.
    • An additional $7.4 million to increase the LIFE program to an additional 600 individuals plus $1.5 million more to expand this program to five additional counties.
    • Additional funding of nearly $18 million to serve 2,304 more seniors in the Aging Waiver. - Additional $34.440 million in state funding for the costs of converting Pennsylvania’s current fee-for-service payment system to Community HealthChoices, the commonwealth’s proposed managed long-term services and supports initiative.

The governor proposes $2.7 billion in new and higher taxes, including an increase in personal income tax, an expansion to the base of the sales tax, increased taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products, a severance tax, a gaming promotional play tax, as well as other tax increases. It does not appear that long-term care services and supports will be included in the proposed expansion to the sales tax base, however, there is no documentation on the proposal.

LeadingAge PA staff will provide additional details as they become available.

A video message from LeadingAge PA LeadingAge PA

Senior VP & Chief Government Affairs Officer Anne Henry provides a summary of Gov. Wolf’s proposed $32.7 billion 2016-17 budget and its potential impact for providers of long-term care.

##LeadingAge PA is extending an invitation to the PEAK conference

Your voice is the key to successful advocacy. Join your colleagues from Pennsylvania and around the country on March 15 for meetings on Capitol Hill with Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation as part of the 2016 LeadingAge PEAK leadership conference in Washington, D.C. The PEAK conference is March 14-16. The Hill meetings are designed to give you the opportunity to discuss how federal policies impact your communities. For details please follow this link. More... or contact Becky Mehringer at 717-790-3967 or <becky@leadingagepa.org>.

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Spring Tidbits April, 2016

4/4/2016 - PARCR Admin

Anne Henry, Senior Vice President and Chief Government Affairs Officer, attended the 2016 LeadingAge PEAK Leadership Conference in Washington, DC in March.

On March 15, LeadingAge PA advocated for the following items when meeting on Capitol Hill with Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation:

  1. Quality

The basis of the current nursing facility oversight process was enacted nearly 30 years ago when the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (OBRA ’87) became law. LeadingAge PA asked Congress to enact legislation to direct the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to reexamine the effectiveness of the present nursing facility oversight process in ensuring excellence.

  1. Hospital Observation Days

Changes to Medicare policy for hospitals regarding short inpatient stays have encouraged hospitals to keep people in “observation” rather than admitting them as inpatients.

LeadingAge PA asked Congress to legislatively correct this problem so that all overnight stays in hospitals count toward the three-day stay requirement so that seniors can once again have their qualifying nursing facility stay paid for by Medicare. The Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act of 2015 (H.R. 1571/S. 843) would create a full and enduring solution by requiring all overnight stays that Medicare beneficiaries spend in the hospital to count towards meeting the three-day prior inpatient stay.

  1. Medicare Value Based Purchasing

In 2014, the Protecting Access to Medicare Act was passed into law which provides an incentive to nursing facilities who provide the quality care needed to reduce re-hospitalization is already in place. This Value Based Payment incentive will reduce SNF reimbursement by 2% but then allow for some of the funding to be regained if they produce the required quality outcomes.

LeadingAge PA asked Congress to oppose H.R. 3298 as written.

  1. Home and Community Based Services

LeadingAge PA supports S. 192, sponsored by Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), already passed by the Senate, which would reauthorize the Older Americans Act. It is currently in the House Committee on Education and Workforce.

LeadingAge PA asked for support of S 192, which would reauthorize the Older Americans Act and to ask the House to bring it to a vote. Fund the OAA program at levels sufficient to meet the needs of our growing senior population.

  1. Senior Housing under Section 202 and Section 8

Affordable housing must be preserved, funded and expanded sufficiently in order to maintain safe residences where seniors can live and age successfully in the place they call home.

Request from LeadingAge PA–Support at least the $505 million the Department of Housing and Urban Development requested for Section 202 for fiscal 2017.This amount will fully fund 12-month renewals of all project rental assistance contracts; so that we do not lose the housing we have in place. It also includes $75 million to renew all service coordinator/congregate housing services grants.

Governor Wolf raises minimum wage for state employees

On Monday, March 7, Governor Wolf signed an executive order raising the minimum wage for Pennsylvania state workers under his jurisdiction and employees working on future state contracts from $7.25 to $10.15 an hour. The governor said the effect will be limited and the order will raise the wages of about 450 out of approximately 79,000 state workers under his jurisdiction. At the press conference the governor said the executive order does not affect human service providers at this time.

Housing Aging Hearing on Assisted Living Residences

Anne Henry, LeadingAge PA’s senior vice president and chief government affairs officer, testified before the House Aging Committee on February 10, 2016 regarding barriers to the development of Assisted Living Residences (ALRs) in the commonwealth. Henry emphasized barriers such as physical plant requirements and the high licensing fees that have so far limited the development of a significant number of assisted living residences as well as barriers that limit individuals residing in ALRs to truly age in place.

LeadingAge PA Updates on Budget, Community HealthChoices and Advocacy

On March 9, 2016 Anne Henry, Senior Vice President and Chief Government Affairs Officer and Ana Puig, Director of Legislative Affairs presented a Regional Member Interchange at Granite Farms Estate on Budget Status FY 2015-2016 & 2016-2017, Community HealthChoices Update and Advocacy and You! It is being planned to have this Power Point presentation put on the PARCR website.

LeadingAge PA Thanks Governor Wolf on his 2016-2017 Budget for Long Term Care

On February 18, 2016 Ron Barth, President /CEO of LeadingAge PA sent a letter to Governor Wolf, thanking him on behalf of the members of LeadingAge PA for the support that the state fiscal year 2016-2017 Executive Budget shows for older Pennsylvanians

Governor Allows Balance of 2015-2016 Budget to Become Law without his Signature

On Wednesday, March 23, Governor Wolf held a press conference to announce that he will let the remainder of the Pennsylvania budget sent to him by the General Assembly become law without his signature. He will, however, veto the fiscal code that includes some funding wishes of the General Assembly. The final 2015-2016 budget did not include the expansion of sales tax on long-term services and supports as proposed by the governor. All eyes are on how negotiations will progress on the 2016- 2017 budget.

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June Tidbits

7/11/2016 - PARCR Admin

Budget Negotiations

LeadingAge PA is requesting PARCR's advocacy now.

It is crunch time in Harrisburg for the 2016/2017 state budget, and we need your help to ask for increased Medical Assistance (MA) funding for nursing facilities. Gov. Wolf had originally proposed a 1% rate increase for nursing facility MA funding in his executive budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year; however, due to cuts to the Department of Human Services (DHS) budget, this increase was removed.

While LeadingAge PA realizes that Pennsylvania has a serious fiscal problem and that lawmakers are struggling to pass a balanced budget, we are concerned that over the past five years, nursing facilities have seen increases in funding only twice. Meanwhile, the cost of salaries, benefits and food has continued to rise.

LeadingAge PA is working collaboratively with the Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA) to request a 3.5% increase in Medical Assistance long-term care funding in the 2016-2017 FY budget. In addition, we are collectively requesting $16 million to fund the Non-Public Medical Assistance Day-One Incentive Payment, created by state legislators three years ago to preserve access to care. This funding is included in the Human Services Code.

Make calls to legislators in Harrisburg asking them to support our budget. Find your legislators and their contact information at [http://www.legis.state.pa.us/].

These talking points will help you communicate your message. This graph shows the difference between the increases in health care inflation and MA nursing facility rates. Please share it with your legislators. Please keep the LeadingAge PA team aware of your efforts both with your legislators and their staff by contacting Ana Puig, Director of Legislative Affairs, at ana@leadingagepa.org, (717)790-3948. June 30 is the deadline for an on time state budget for FY 2016-17. The LeadingAge PA Government Affairs team will monitor the budget process closely and will provide updates.

Community Health, Choices (CHC)

On June 9, 2016 the Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Ted Dallas announced that the commonwealth will lengthen the transition time for implementation of Community Health, Choices (CHC), the commonwealth’s proposed managed long-term services and supports program. Dallas said that as part of the ongoing commitment to ensure that everyone impacted by the CHC understands and is comfortable with the program prior to it going live, the first phase will now begin July 1, 2017 (rather than January 1, 2017) in the southwest.

LeadingAge PA and many other stakeholders requested that DHS defer the start of the program until all is ready. Learn more about the CHC program on the DHS website.

LeadingAge PA Annual Conference and Exposition

LeadingAge PA is holding its 2016 Annual Conference and Expostion, Be Bold! At the Hershey Lodge, Hershey, PA June 14 to June 17. The 2016 Annual Conference & Exposition is designed to inspire with strategies to explore change and innovation, grow and evolve as aging services leaders, and stay competitive in the provision of long-term services and supports to Pennsylvania seniors. PARCR will have a display table at the conference.

The pre-conference symposium, The Future of Managed Care and Medical Assistance, provides attendees with the opportunity to learn about Community HealthChoices and how it will impact care delivery systems and payment models and how Medicaid consumers will receive services in the future. The symposium is Tuesday, June 14, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. at Hershey Lodge, Hershey. This video has details.

Annual Legislative Staff Breakfast

The LeadingAge PA Government Affairs team held its annual legislative staff breakfast at the Capitol on April 28. The intent of the breakfast was to continue developing relationships and have one on one interaction with key staff members that work for leadership and key committees that have significant impact on issues that affect LeadingAge PA and the seniors they serve. Ron Barth, CEO, and Anne Henry, senior vice president and chief government affairs officer, spoke about our priorities for the 2016-17 FY including the budget, Community HealthChoices, and the importance of allowing people to receive assisted living services under the Medical Assistance program. It was a great opportunity to answer questions and to share with the legislative staff that LeadingAge PA is the association of solutions.

The Older Americans Act (OAA) Reauthorization of 2015

President Barack Obama signed into law the Older Americans Act (OAA) Reauthorization of 2015, after it passed both chambers of Congress with unanimous support. LeadingAge commends the President for signing the OAA, which was 5 years overdue for reauthorization. Check for information on the importance of this Act More...

Five-Star Quality Measures

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) enhanced Nursing Home Compare (NHC) in April 2016 to include six new quality measures related to publicly reported readmission. They stated that a preview of the new measures would be available on April 7; however, the preview is still not available at this time. We will be releasing the new 5 Star Analysis Report from LeadingAge Quality Metrics this month once the new measures are available and we can include them in your report. Five of the six new measures will be used in the calculation of the Five-Star Quality Measures (QM) ratings beginning in July 2016. More...

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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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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.

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