Already Overwhelmed by COVID-19, Now Comes Warning of More Budget Cuts?

The majority of home care providers are already forecasting major COVID-19 revenue losses as high as 30%, with some (12% of providers) expecting losses well over 40%, according to a recent HCA survey.

Amid unprecedented hardships, home care agencies are doing everything possible to maintain staffing levels while: paying premium rates just to obtain personal protective equipment, needing to invest in technologies that allow for social distancing, and countless other resource impacts.

Now comes word of further state fiscal cuts, possibly to Medicaid?

These would mount on top of substantial state budget cuts and Executive actions already being implemented, including a 1.5% across-the-board Medicaid payment reduction and the deferral of Medicaid payments that further constrict cash flow to home care providers, as well as a range of structural overhauls — yet to come — from the Medicaid Redesign Team’s recommendations. These portend major consolidation measures across home and community-based programs and services.

In a weekend announcement, on April 26, the state Division of Budget warned that the Executive is looking to act on powers it was given in the recent state budget to pursue as much as $10.1 billion in new budget cuts, including $8.2 billion in local assistance program and agency cuts. If such cuts are advanced, the Legislature has ten days to reject them or come up with alternatives.

Health care is shouldering a public health crisis of unimaginable proportions. Home and community-based providers cannot withstand any further cuts.

It is not known at this time what areas the Executive may look to cut, but we urge the Legislature to stand firm against inconceivable impacts on home and community-based providers.

We recognize and appreciate the toll this crisis has taken on state finances, but providers face a parallel toll, along with continuing major responsibilities for patient care, hospital decompression and public health on the line. This is why federal aid is imperative and duly warranted. It should be aggressively pursued and reserved for protecting the safety net that is protecting New Yorkers.