Maryland Wrap-Up: Home Care Access Bill and Others

BAYADA’s primary goal this session was to pass legislation requiring the state to evaluate disabled children’s and adults’ access to home health care.  We built a coalition, developed a persuasive body of research, and educated key legislators about low Medicaid rates and the desperate need for more LPNs in home care.  In the final hour of the year’s legislative session, the bill passed unanimously.  We know that disabled children and adults in Maryland are routinely going without the care they need.  The task force this bill establishes, and the report that they will publish, will allow us to advocate for greatly increased Medicaid rates in the coming months.  This is an important step forward to bring reliable, high quality home healthcare to more Marylanders.

Thank you Delegate Kirill Reznik and Senator Steve Waugh for supporting home care by sponsoring this bill!

In other news:

  • MINIMUM WAGE- A proposal to increase the state minimum wage to $15 failed. The issue will likely be back for consideration in 2019. A previously-scheduled increase to $10.10 this summer will still occur.
  • SICK LEAVE- A statewide sick leave mandate passed last session, which Gov. Hogan vetoed. This session, the legislature overrode the veto and put the mandate into effect as of February 11. BAYADA’s LS and POL groups have made sure that BAYADA is in compliance.
  • HEALTH INSURANCE- In reaction to federal elimination of the individual mandate and some health insurance market funding, the state took steps to stabilize individual marketplace health insurance premium rates and will evaluate proposals to encourage younger, healthier people to buy health insurance.
  • PRESCRIPTION DRUGS- An effort to prevent price-gouging for prescription drugs failed. A separate bill that allows pharmacists to tell consumers about lower-cost drug options passed.

Sick Leave Becomes Law in Override of Maryland Governor Hogan Veto

At the end of the 2017 session, the Maryland General Assembly voted in favor of a statewide sick leave law. It was the sixth consecutive year that the bill was introduced.

The measure was fiercely debated and amended several times. The final version mandates that employees who work more than 12 hours in an average week earn paid sick leave at a rate of one hour per 30 hours worked, up to 64 hours per year. The sick leave may be used for the employee’s own sickness or that of a family member, to obtain preventative health care or to prevent domestic violence or stalking.

Following the 2017 session, Governor Larry Hogan vetoed the legislation, calling it bad for Maryland businesses. The legislature overrode the veto on the second day of session this year, January 11. It will go into effect 30 days after the override vote, pending a new bill introduced this week that would delay implementation. POL has been notified of the change and will issue guidance on how this will impact BAYADA offices.

If you have any questions about what’s going on in Maryland’s state capitol, let’s chat! Email me at sgahs@bayada.com.