All agencies in Georgia are encouraged to complete a brief survey to provide valuable input to the chapter. In September 2020, the HCAOA Georgia Chapter surveyed the membership on several key issues related to COVID-19 and the impact on members. The results of this survey were instrumental in our success in lobbying for a Medicaid rate increase during the 2021 legislative session. The lobbying process is beginning again as we get ready for the 2022 legislative session, so we need our membership’s input on the state of the home care business in Georgia.
Last week, President Biden announced vaccine mandates for workers in “most health care settings” that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement. This includes hospitals, dialysis facilities, ambulatory surgical settings, and home health agencies. HCAOA continues to monitor this development and those of various states to determine the impact on home care agencies providing personal care.
HCAOA is excited to announce that we have confirmed Mark Butler, Georgia Commissioner of Labor, to attend the Georgia State Chapter Meeting on August 20. This meeting features a full agenda, including updates on the Medicaid rate increase and a discussion about the fingerprinting delay, as well as lunch and networking with colleagues. Click here to register.
At long last, HCAOA Connecticut's advocacy efforts and members' grassroots support have paid dividends in the form of Medicaid waiver rate increases issued by the Department of Social Services for HCBS. HCBS waiver providers will receive a one-time estimated 5% stabilization payment to be paid in the 3rd (current) quarter; 1.7% across-the-board rate increase, authorized under the new state budget, effective Jul. 1, 2021; and supplemental rate funding (see reinvestment plan for details).
PHI recently released a report, Federal Policy Priorities for the Direct Care Workforce, offering detailed federal policy recommendations to strengthen the direct care workforce across eight key areas: financing, compensation, training, workforce interventions, data collection, direct care worker leadership, equity, and the public narrative. COVID-19 put the direct care workforce in the spotlight more than ever before - reinforcing the value of these workers.
Daniel Tsai has been named the new CMS Deputy Administrator and Director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services. In this role, Tsai will be responsible for leading CMS efforts around health equity and serving vulnerable populations, including seniors. Prior to his appointment, Tsai served as the Assistant Secretary for MassHealth (the Massachusetts Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program) and as Medicaid Director at the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) is a technology that automates the gathering of service information by capturing time, attendance, and care plan information entered by a home care worker at the point of care. Click here to access the current timeline for EVV and upcoming Tellus provider training sessions for Medicaid Waiver providers in Georgia here. Read more
On June 24, Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) announced new legislation, the Better Care Better Jobs Act (S. 2210/H.R. 4131) which would strengthen home- and community-based services (HCBS) by giving states more money to expand access to their Medicaid home-based care programs and strengthen the home-based care workforce. "We continue to review and analyze various components of this legislation and will share our analysis with our members shortly, stated HCAOA Executive Director, Vicki Hoak. "However we immediately see the positive aspects:
Brooks-LaSure previously served as a senior CMS official under the Obama administration and worked for the House Ways and Means Committee. In addition, she would be the first Black woman to hold the post if her nomination is confirmed by the U.S. Senate. On May 27, following a bipartisan confirmation by the U.S. Senate, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra formally swore in Chiquita Brooks-LaSure as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
HCAOA State Chapters Taking Action, Offering Suggestions to State Medicaid Directors on FMAP for HCBS
Several of HCAOA’s State Chapters took action this week, sending letters to their State Medicaid Directors to offer suggestions about how to use the available 10% FMAP increase for Medicaid home and community-based services. CMS recently provided guidance to states about how they can use the federal funds to supplement, not supplant, existing state funds for Medicaid effective April 1, 2021. In the letter, HCAOA Chapters state the industry’s biggest concern and primary suggestion is use the funds to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates for personal care services and private duty nursing so agencies can adequately recruit and retain essential workers to provide critical care at home to patients and clients
The letter offers several other suggestions to enhance, expand, or strengthen Medicaid HCBS, including hazard pay, overtime pay, and shift differential pay for home care workers, new or additional Medicaid HCBS services especially during the pandemic, and support for family caregivers. To date, the Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Virginia, Wisconsin, Arizona, South Carolina and Connecticut Chapters have sent letters, with others to follow.
You can read one of the full letters here.