Legislative Tidbits by Gail Stelger

What would you like to know?

Here is some brief information on updates from LeadingAge PA. If you would like some more in depth information, please feel free to call me at 717-624-7715 or 610-392-1313 (cell) or e-mail me at gailstelger@hotmail.com. If you want the whole story, contact Anne Henry at anne@leadingagepa.org or 717-790-3949.

May 2019

6/9/2019 - PARCR Admin

LeadingAge Pa has asked for help from PARCR members with the following plea:

Tell the General Assembly About Medical Assistance Funding Shortfalls!

LeadingAge PA needs our help! We must engage with elected officials in the general assembly NOW about the shortfalls in medical assistance for our nursing facilities. We must tell them how the cost of providing care under the medical assistance program is significantly more than our communities get reimbursed.

Use the resources provided by LeadingAge PA, which are attached. Every time we call, write, or invite our elected official to our nursing facility, we all get a step closer in making an important impact!

LeadingAge PA has provided the following information regarding efforts to include assisted living in medicaid funding which will be managed by the Community HealthChoices program.

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Bill to Include Assisted Living in Community HealthChoices Introduced

Early in the week of May 13, 2019, HB 1442 was introduced by Steve Mentzer (R-Lancaster). This bill is a result of the advocacy efforts of LeadingAge PA on one of their major initiatives. The bill would require the Department of Human Services (DHS) to include assisted living services in the Community HealthChoices program. The bill would also require DHS to review waivers of assisted regulations such as room size and bathroom capacity. These are some of the issues most often given by personal care homes that might otherwise want to convert to assisted living.

LeadingAge PA will keep us informed as our advocacy becomes necessary.

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Tidbits for January and February

2/26/2019 - PARCR Admin

Anne Henry has requested that any PARCR Member or attendee who has been able to make personal contact with any state legislator to please contact her so that LeadingAge PA can build on the relationship. Anne can be contacted at 717-790-3949 or ahenry@leadingagepa.org.

LeadingAge Government Affairs Team reported the following advocacy that had been accomplished by the end of January. The LeadingAge PA Government Affairs team completed 10 visits with legislators and/or staff including discussions on the upcoming 2019/2020 budget with staff from all four caucuses of the Appropriations Committees. Additionally, they met with the Secretary of the Governor’s Budget Office, the Secretary of Health, the Auditor General, the Deputy Secretary from the Department of Human Services (DHS) Office of Long Term Living, and DHS legal, DHS policy and Office of Income Maintenance staff. More regular updates on the progress made on issues critical to PARCR are planned.

LeadingAge PA reported that Governor Wolf announced his 2019-2020 Budget on Tuesday Feb. 5, 2019 before a joint session of the General Assembly. LeadingAge PA is gravely disappointed that the Governor has once again declined to provide a Medical Assistance (MA) rate increase for long term care providers. Despite the Governor’s repeated claims of supporting the needs of all Pennsylvanians, he continues again this year to ignore the needs of seniors. LeadingAge PA shared a press release, as well as urging the General Assembly to address this oversight in the Governor’s budget and will be calling on LeadingAge PA members for grassroots advocacy to support efforts to fairly fund senior care services in the commonwealth. LeadingAge PA plans to continue reviewing the Governor’s budget proposal and provide further information on the specifics as they become available.

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Election Update

11/19/2018 - PARCR Admin

With November 6th behind us, the election results in Pennsylvania are fairly straight forward (affording us all a much deserved reprieve from ads on TV). Governor Wolf handily won a second term. Republicans retained control of both the PA House and the PA Senate, though the Republican Majority in the House was whittled by 10 seats. Democrats saw victory in key races in the Southeast including the ousting of Warren Kampf (R-157 from Chester and Montgomery Counties) by Melissa Shusterman. Warren was a tremendous friend of long term care and senior services. Many other supporters of the long-term care community were able to hold on in their races.

Confusion abounded in the United States House races from the redrawing of the electoral map. Results came in with an evenly split Pennsylvania Delegation in the US House with many incumbents retaining a seat, but possibly not in the same district they previously held the seat. The US House flipped from Republican control, to the Democrats; many results across the country remain uncalled, therefore leaving the scope of the new Democrat majority to be determined. Senator Bob Casey retained his seat.

LeadingAge PA will provide more information on the election results and will continue to offer resources about who represents you beginning in 2019. If you have questions, contact Georgia Goodman (ggoodman@leadingagepa.org).

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Legislative Update on HB 2291

11/4/2018 - PARCR Admin

We gave it a valiant try but could not move HB2291 for a final vote. We do not have to give up. We will continue to follow progress through LeadingAge PA and lend our voices to advocacy again when appropriate. Below is a positive endorsement of our efforts from LeadingAge PA.

HB 2291: Thank You for Your Advocacy- it Rallied Remarkable Progress this Session!

HB 2291, the Independent Senior Living Facilities Privacy Act, jointly prime sponsored by Representatives George Dunbar (R - Westmoreland) and Pam DeLissio (D-Montgomery, Philadelphia) was voted unanimously from the House in October, only six short months after it was introduced. Having a bill move so quickly and in a bipartisan manner is almost unheard of and much credit is due to the grassroots pressure of LeadingAge PA members and residents especially in the face of growing opposition of other associations representing personal care homes and assisted living residences.

Unfortunately, after House passage there just weren’t enough session days left to get a vote in the Senate and send the bill to the Governor’s desk. LeadingAge PA will continue to aggressively pursue resolution of the issue that made the Independent Senior Living Facilities Privacy Act necessary. Please watch for updates on this topic in future issues of Government Affairs News.

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Tidbits for Fall 2018

10/10/2018 - PARCR Admin

On October 3, 2018 LeadingAge PA reported that The Senior Independent Living Facility Privacy Act (HB 2291) made progress thanks to our advocacy!

In Pennsylvania, bills must be considered three times prior to passage and on Monday, Oct. 1, HB 2291 received second consideration. There are not many days left on the legislative calendar, but LeadingAge PA is hopeful that HB 2291 will receive third consideration and final passage in the House yet this session. LeadingAge PA is requesting that we keep up our advocacy to get the bill past the finish line in the House.

In addition continue to urge your senator to sign on to SCO 1590 to co-sponsor The Independent Senior Living Facility Privacy Act protecting the rights and privacy of seniors to age in place which would be a companion bill to HB 2291.

LeadingAge PA is requesting additional advocacy from PARCR to ask our Congressional Representatives to Cosponsor the Nursing Home Workforce Quality Act (H.R. 6986)

Right now, nursing homes that are assessed penalties above a certain level automatically lose their authority to train nursing assistants (CNAs) for two years. This “CNA Training Lockout” runs counter to a nursing home’s ability to provide the highest quality of care.

The Nursing Home Workforce Quality Act (H.R. 6986) has just been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill would end the mandatory CNA training lockout. Rather than this arbitrary two-year penalty, CMS and the states would have the discretion to impose a lockout under certain conditions; and any lockout imposed would end once the deficiencies cited are corrected.

We can use our voices and help LeadingAge build momentum for this new legislation! We can contact our own legislator now.

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