Copied below is a Member Alert by LeadingAge PA in response to Governor Wolf”s announcement on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 of his proposed budget for state fiscal year 2020-21. The Alert, at this point, appears to be an Alert of information because the Alert ends with “Please watch for calls to action in the near future.”
Also below are statements from Adam Marles, CEO and President of LeadingAge PA, along with information about LeadingAge PA. Mr. Marles expresses disappointment over this new budget proposal.
Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or wish to make comments.
Vulnerable Seniors Ignored by Governor Wolf for the Sixth Year
Yesterday, Governor Wolf shared his executive budget for state fiscal year 2020-21. This announcement was like Groundhog Day all over again, as shared by LeadingAge PA’s President and CEO Adam Marles. While the governor formed a Council on Reform to ensure vulnerable populations have access to needed services, he chose to not increase funding for Medical Assistance senior services yet again. LeadingAge PA’s initial review of the Governor’s Executive Budget identified the following points of interest to LeadingAge PA members:
- No Medical Assistance rate increases for nursing homes, LIFE providers, adult day programs or home health care.
- An increase in the minimum wage to $12 per hour.
- $5 million in state funds to grow the LIFE program by an additional 430 participants.
- $1.4 million to expand access to the Ventilator Dependent Resident Grant Program.
- $8.1 million to provide services to reduce the waiting list for the OPTIONS program of home based services provided through the Department of Aging. General information on the budget includes:
- Overall spending is proposed at just over $36 billion in state general funds, which is a 4.22% increase over the available funds for 2019-20.
- The governor did recognize vulnerable populations other than seniors with funding for other priorities such as $19 million for persons with intellectual disabilities.
- The proposed budget discusses a blueprint for overcoming several obstacles to joining the workforce such as transportation, childcare, updating licensure requirements, and gaps in training.
- The governor’s address included generous funding for public schools, including $1 billion dollars to fix toxic school buildings.
- The address mentioned keeping Pennsylvania safe and adds $10 million for gun violence prevention.
- In the coming weeks, the governor promises to put forth a health care reform plan that will address the high cost of prescription drugs, protect consumers, and empower more families to make decisions about their futures without being held captive by their health insurance.
As additional information becomes available, we will be sharing it with members.
Please know that LeadingAge PA has already begun advocacy for a 2% rate increase for nursing homes and the LIFE program. We are also urging the General Assembly to include $17 million of new funding to begin a nursing home quality incentive program. Your advocacy will be necessary if we are to be successful. Please watch for calls to action in the near future.
LeadingAge PA Calls 2020-21 PA Budget Proposal 'Disappointment'
MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (Feb. 4, 2020) - LeadingAge PA, an association representing more than 350 nonprofit providers of services for seniors, today issued the following statement from President and CEO Adam Marles on the 2020-21 budget proposal from Gov. Tom Wolf:
"Pennsylvania has essentially flat-funded Medical Assistance for more than five years and must stop ignoring nursing home residents who rely on Medicaid. That's why today's announcement that the latest budget proposal will continue to flat fund nursing home care felt like Groundhog Day all over again. Last year alone, there was a $632-million loss that hurt nursing homes' ability to maintain high quality care, and retain and attract staff. We urge the Pennsylvania General Assembly to insert a 2% rate increase into the budget and provide an additional $17-million investment in Community HealthChoices to fund a quality incentive initiative. This would reward nursing facilities that staff well, utilize public funds to provide better salaries and benefits to direct care workers, and demonstrate quality. Pennsylvania should reward its best nursing homes, and provide the funding necessary to properly care for its oldest citizens."