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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.