More than 65 HCAOA Connecticut members and nonmembers gathered last Wednesday at Luce Restaurant in Middletown, CT, for a chapter meeting and update on what is happening in Washington, D.C.
Chapter Meeting Recap:
HCAOA executive director Vicki Hoak explained the Credit for Caring Act and other federal legislation HCAOA is participating in and discussed several HCAOA initiatives. Chapter chairman Mark McGoldrick reported results from the recent chapter survey, the work of the legislative and public policy committee, and the chapter’s success in the legislative session; also, he led an open forum discussion of various matters important to HCA owners. HCAOA lobbyist Matthew Hallisey discussed several legislative initiatives, including newly adopted background check requirements, Medicaid reimbursement and authorizing nonsolicitation agreements; and how members can participate in public policy, such as by contacting their lawmakers and meeting with them in the district at their agency offices.
Department of Consumer Protection Survey:
Approximately 25 members responded to a recent survey concerning their experience with the Department of Consumer Protection. Of those agencies that have been audited by the department, most investigations were initiated following a client complaint. Also, a majority of those were issued a violation that their business name or advertising uses medical terms that are outside the scope of their credential requiring a license from the Department of Public Health and must be changed or removed. (The chapter is planning an event in September featuring officials and investigations staff from the department.) According to respondents, the most challenging issue confronting HCAs this year is finding and hiring qualified caregivers/employees. Other challenging issues include: the cost of doing business in the state; cost of medical, workers’ compensation or general liability insurance; recovering from the pandemic; economic conditions; and lack of proper reimbursement from the state for Medicaid services.
HCBS Provider Rates Update:
Last week, the Department of Social Services issued its spending plan to CMS for implementing the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 for home and community-based services, including increasing provider rates. The plan indicates the state is currently in the process of assessing the adequacy of all HCBS provider rates and those deemed inadequate will be increased and sustained at higher levels in 2025. The spending plan indicates provider rates will be increased as part of enhancing the HCBS workforce with a total investment of $80.7 million, which could result in a meaningful boost for home care providers participating in the Connecticut Medical Assistance and waiver programs. In the coming weeks, DSS is expected to issue a provider bulletin specifying how the funds will be distributed to various HCBS providers.