Delaware: Moving Forward In 2017

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

Governor John Carney took office in January, inheriting a budget deficit of $350 million.  As a result, the General Assembly is reviewing all planned expenditures for 2017.  I attended public hearings on all parts of the budget affecting the Department of Health and Social Services and testified on the need for a rate floor in Medicaid-contracted services.

Legislative Roundtable and Ambassador Relationship Leads to Action in PA

Submitted by Laura Ness, Director, PA Government Affairs (GAO)

Recently, Community Liaison and 2016 BAYADA Ambassador of the Year Mike Sokoloski hosted a roundtable with PA Representative Aaron Kaufer.  BAYADA started building a relationship with Representative Kaufer before he was elected to the General Assembly.  As a result of our relationship, Representative Kaufer took an interest in our issues early on and learned more about the state’s human services programs.

During the roundtable, we spoke about our need for increased reimbursement rates for personal assistant services under the Office of Long-Term Living and the need to equalize access to home and community based service by allowing presumptive eligibility*.  Equalizing access was an issue of great interest to Representative Kaufer, and since the roundtable, the Government Affairs Office (GAO) has been in touch with the Representative multiple times to determine next steps in the process.

GAO looks forward to working with Representative Kaufer and others to ensure presumptive eligibility is allowed for home health care in the state.

*Presumptive eligibility: Individuals can be presumed eligible for Medicaid services while their full application is being processed.  Presumptive eligibility grants greater access to care and allows the individual to receive medically necessary treatment.

NC Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) Secretary Announced

Submitted by Lee Dobson, Area Director, NC Government Affairs (GAO)

Dr. Mandy Cohen has been appointed by NC Governor Roy Cooper as the new Department of Health & Human Services Secretary to lead Medicaid.  Cohen, an internist, carries a wealth of experience and knowledge having recently served as the Chief Operating Officer and Chief of Staff for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in Baltimore.  She plans to partner with healthcare providers, consumers, regulators, and lawmakers for a healthier state. BAYADA submitted formal comments on four Medicaid clinical policies.  Special thanks to the division director review teams for their insight and guidance in drafting these recommendations.

Caption: Dr. Mandy Cohen

South Carolina: First Ask

Submitted by Lee Dobson, Area Director, SC Government Affairs (GAO)

This year, will be the first year in many years that we will be working with lawmakers to garner support for a much needed Medicaid rate increase.  We are partnering with other providers, as well as the South Carolina Association for Home & Hospice Care to ensure a unified voice.  Lawmakers return to Columbia on January 10, where we will work with leadership in both chambers. Senator Hugh Leatherman, Sr. of Florence will remain the chair of Finance and Senator Harvey Peeler, Jr. of Cherokee will lead Medical Affairs.  In the House, Representative Brian White will remain chair of Ways and Means.

North Carolina: We’re Off To The Races

Submitted by Lee Dobson, Area Director, NC Government Affairs (GAO)

Lawmakers return to Raleigh, NC for the start of the 2017-2019 legislative session on January 11.  We expect to see a few changes in committee assignments and leadership, especially in House Appropriations for Health & Human Services (HHS), with the election defeat of Representative Marilyn Avila.  However, we anticipate (and are thrilled) that Representative Nelson Dollar will remain Chair of HHS Appropriations and Representative Josh Dobson will assume the leadership position of vice-chair on that committee.  Senators Ralph Hise and Louis Pate will remain Co-Chairs of Senate Appropriations for HHS.  Our reimbursement priority is to increase the Medicaid aide rate from $13.88 to $17.00 over two years.