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HCA Budget Testimony Stresses Payment, Regulatory, Workforce and Infrastructure Needs

Today, HCA Executive Vice President Al Cardillo delivered testimony before a panel of the state Assembly and Senate on the Health and Medicaid portions of the proposed state budget. HCA’s written testimony is posted to our website here.Coachatestifyin

The hearing drew testimony from multiple sectors of health care, with stakeholders commenting on the Governor’s Executive Budget proposals and pursuing issues for the Legislature’s consideration in its own one-house budgets and/or resolutions.

Legislators also received testimony from officials at the state Department of Health, office of the State Medicaid Inspector General, Department of Financial Services and other offices representing the Executive on various components of the Health and Medicaid budget.

The Legislature addressed some important and sometimes pointed questions to state officials on issues of relevance to home care. This included: the state’s management of the Medicaid global cap and related Executive “super-powers” for rate changes; the state’s distribution of minimum wage funds to home care; the purview of the Governor’s proposed Health Care Regulation Modernization Team; and other issues.

In his testimony, Mr. Cardillo reinforced HCA’s called for payment adequacy and actuarially sound MLTC and provider rates for cost coverage, including stable and complete funding of the minimum wage mandate. He also called for the Legislature’s rejection of MLTC cuts and eligibility changes that have a continuum-wide impact.

He also alerted the Legislature about the actions of non-home-care providers seeking to enter the home care regulatory space (in Article 36) and the associated risks to patient care and service duplication. His written testimony called on the Regulation Modernization Team and budget process to examine this issue, along with long-needed regulatory relief measures for home care providers to facilitate their effective participation in new integrated models as duly licensed Article 36 entities.

He also presented HCA’s requests for investment in home care infrastructure, beyond the $30 million community care allotment (out of a total $500 million pool for all sectors) that is proposed in the Governor’s budget. In addition, he urged the Legislature’s action on a plan for supporting home care workforce recruitment, retention and capacity to address shortages, turnover, and the growing need for citizens to access home care.

Each of HCA’s recommendations was presented to the Legislature and Executive in the form of draft budget language, and additionally summarized in a series of reports presented to the Legislature during HCA’s February 7 Advocacy Day.

In a related development, the Governor later today is expected to release his 30-day amendments to his budget. HCA will be analyzing these amendments for any changes affecting home care and reporting back to you in future communications.