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In Testimony at Budget Hearing Today, HCA Urges Home Care Regulatory Relief, Transition Support, Fiscal Stability

For Immediate Release: January 30, 2013

Contact: Roger Noyes, (518) 810-0665 office, (518) 275-6961 cell

ALBANY — Home Care Association of New York State (HCA) President Joanne Cunningham today presented testimony before the Joint Legislative Hearing on Medicaid and the Budget where she focused on the urgent need for home care regulatory relief, transition support, and a stable fiscal environment in this year’s budget and legislative session.

Cunningham noted that 79% of home care providers in New York State are operating in the red due to rising costs, unfunded mandates and reimbursement cuts, according to HCA’s most recent home care financial condition study. Unfortunately, many of these cuts would continue in the Governor’s 2013 budget proposal, Cunningham said. At the same, home care providers are undergoing major structural changes due to state Medicaid redesign policies which now require that home care providers increasingly subcontract with managed care plans in order to deliver services at home to patients.

In her prepared remarks, Cunningham noted: “Over the past two years, state Medicaid redesign policies have rapidly and fundamentally begun to change the relationship between home care providers and their patients. These state policies have moved one foot down the path toward mandatory managed care enrollment for thousands of home care patients while the other foot remains planted in a regulatory structure that is designed for a much different fee-for-service Medicaid environment.”

Cunningham added: “The current regulatory structure for home care lacks consistency in some cases and is altogether duplicative in other cases when it comes to the managed care contracting environment. This is a major problem of growing concern as the level of contracting activity is expected to accelerate. A comprehensive approach to regulatory and financial relief is desperately needed for the sake of New York’s home care infrastructure and the patients it serves.”

In addition to regulatory changes, home care urgently needs a stable financing structure to weather the monumental shifts in care delivery, especially at a time when the existing erosion of the home care financial base already challenges providers in helping to achieve the state’s redesign goals, Cunningham said. “HCA urges the state to include home care transition support in its 1115 waiver request to the federal government. This request seeks reinvestment of up to $10 billion back into the state’s Medicaid redesign efforts — and there is no other area of the redesign plan that needs transition reinvestment more than in home care,” Cunningham said.

She added: “By modernizing the regulatory structure in home care and by securing adequate Medicaid payment for home care, we can assure a smoother transition, better continuity-of-care for patients, and operational efficiencies which are in the best interest of patients, the state’s fiscal policies, and the stability of provider and health plan infrastructures.”

Throughout her testimony, Cunningham referred to HCA’s Three-Point Plan to Support Home Care and Ensure Success of State Redesign Efforts, a newly issued document which outlines areas for regulatory relief as well as transition support and financing support for home care. HCA’s Three-Point Plan is available at www.hcanys.org.

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