New Addition to DE Managed Care Organizations and Increased Focus on Value-Based Payments

Submitted by Shannon Gahs, Director, DE Government Affairs (GAO)

The Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) announced that United Healthcare will no longer participate in the state’s managed Medicaid program and that AmeriHealth Caritas will take its place beginning January 1, 2018.  DHSS also announced a target of linking payments to quality of care rather than quantity of hours provided, a trend the Government Affairs Office (GAO) has seen in other states and programs.  GAO will partner with other BAYADA support teams to help ensure that this shift is beneficial to our clients and the work we do.

 

Government Affairs Delaware Office Tour

Submitted by Shannon Gahs, Director, DE Government Affairs (GAO)

All of our Delaware service offices kindly opened their doors to Chief Government Affairs Officer Dave Totaro, Manager of Grassroots Advocacy Mike Sokoloski, and me this week.  The Government Affairs Office (GAO) team was able to share current information about our state and federal advocacy efforts.  We had good conversations with office teams about what BAYADA’s official positions are and how office and field employees are getting more involved in advocacy for our clients.  Thank you all for such warm receptions!

Maryland: Stronger Together

Submitted by Shannon Gahs, Director, MD Government Affairs (GAO)

Over the last two weeks, the Government Affairs Office (GAO) has been busy behind the scenes, building a coalition to advocate together for increased reimbursements in pediatric care.  Working together, we show that this is an issue that matters not only to us as a potential provider in this area, but to clients, their families, our trade association, and current providers.  We are stronger together than we are individually!

Take Advantage of Summer Time in Delaware

Submitted by Shannon Gahs, Director, DE Government Affairs (GAO)

Summer is the time to build coalitions, work behind the scenes and prepare for the future.  I am finalizing research and developing deeper relationships with key partners to set BAYADA up for future successes.  In the Government Affairs Office (GAO) generally, we are building plans to improve grassroots advocacy and make the most of the time you all volunteer.

 

Using The Interim To Build Stronger Relationships in Maryland

Submitted by Shannon Gahs, Director, MD Government Affairs (GAO)

The legislature is technically in recess until January, so legislators are unreachable, right?  Not at all!  The Government Affairs Office (GAO) is using this time to get to know our key legislators, those who are likely to become champions for home health care issues because of their committee assignment, position of leadership or personal experiences.  Legislators are less stressed in the “interim” or off-season, and it’s easier to have more in-depth conversations about the issues that impact our clients and the important work we do.  We’re also developing rock-solid research and advocacy materials to make complicated issues easier to understand when these conversations return to session-pace.

 

It’s In DE Governor John Carney’s Hands

Submitted by Shannon Gahs, Director, DE Government Affairs (GAO)

The rate floor bill we’ve worked so hard on, now sits on Governor John Carney’s desk.  Many bills passed in the last days of session, at the end of June, each requiring his consideration before he signs them into law or vetoes them.  HB200, which sets a “rate floor” or minimum reimbursement rate for Registered Nurse (RN) and Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) level nursing care equal to the Delaware Health and Social Services (DHSS) fee for service rates, would help ensure home health care clients across the state have access to care.  We have sent him information about why this bill is so important to our clients and employees and we await his decision.  The bill becomes law and is effective upon his signature.

 

Delaware Rate Floor Bill Passes

Submitted by Shannon Gahs, Associate Director, DE Government Affairs (GAO)

The General Assembly, in the wee hours of the morning on the last day of session, passed the rate floor bill! This measure will ensure that Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) hourly home health care rates for registered nursing (RN) and licensed practical nursing (LPN) care will never fall below Delaware Health and Social Services (DHSS) hourly rates. This will help to ensure access to home health care for Delawareans with disabilities, and giving providers the ability to make informed business decisions. Dedicated effort by our BAYADA team of clients and employees, in partnership with the Delaware Association for Home and Community-Based Care and other home health care providers, made this possible. Thank you for your emails, phone calls, and attendance at Advocacy Day in Dover. This bill will go into effect when Governor John Carney signs it.

Delaware Rate Floor Bill Passes House Committee

Submitted by Shannon Gahs, Associate Director, DE Government Affairs (GAO)

Following compelling testimony by clients Nancy and Christopher Lemus, Delaware Association for Home and Community-based Care (DAHCC) President Bob Bird, Delaware Pediatrics (DP) Associate Director Mandy Brady, and myself, the House Health & Human Development Committee passed a bill that would set a minimum reimbursement rate paid by Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs) to home health care providers for skilled nursing services.
Representatives asked probing questions, sparking true debate over the measure. The vote was 10-0 with 4 additional members absent. The bill must still pass the full House, the Senate Health, Children & Social Services Committee, and the full Senate. The legislature closes on June 30. If this bill passes, MCOs would not be able to pay any less than the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) pays for the same care, giving DHSS the ability to ensure access to needed services.

Nancy Lemus giving testimony at the hearing

Governor Hogan Vetoes Maryland Sick Leave Mandate

Submitted by Shannon Gahs, Associate Director, MD Government Affairs (GAO)

As was widely expected, Governor Larry Hogan vetoed a controversial bill passed by the legislature during the session that ended on April 10, calling it bad for business. The bill would have mandated that all employers with more than 15 employees provide paid sick leave to most employees. Because the bill passed with a large majority of votes, we expect that the legislature will override the veto at the beginning of the 2018 session in January, with the law going into effect the following autumn. BAYADA supports paid sick leave for office and field employees, having a similar benefits plan already in place.

Rate Floor Bill Introduced in Delaware

Submitted by Shannon Gahs, Associate Director, DE Government Affairs (GAO)

Following a concerted education effort and participation by many members of the home health care industry, HB200, which sets a “rate floor” for skilled nursing paid by Medicaid managed care, has been introduced. Nine members of the legislature have said that home health care matters to them, and are sponsoring the bill. Every home health care provider who answered an industry-wide survey said their number of unfilled hours has increased over last year. HB200 would go a long way toward ensuring access to skilled nursing for home health care clients across the state. If the bill becomes law, managed care organizations would not be able to pay less than the Department of Health and Social Services pays directly for similar services.