Texas Association for Home Care & Hospice is fighting for our Patients!
Dear Open Forum:
The conference committee just wrapped up a very long and hard fought session to resolve the differences in the two budgets and make recommendations for a final budget. Below you will find an initial summary of the budget recommendations, but bottom line, every one of our TAHC&H recommendations were addressed partially or in full. This is a huge difference from past sessions and a credit to all of you who continually advocated during this legislative session. The LBB will now produce the full budget based on the conference committee's recommendations and the full budget will be voted on by the conference committee before going to the floors for a vote.
Private Duty Nursing
$14.8 million in new General Revenue Funds ($38.3 million All Funds), which fully funds TAHC&H's ask for a 2.5% rate increase.
$19.0 million in new General Revenue Funds ($49.1 million All Funds), which is approximately half of TAHC&H's request. TAHC&H has clarified that there will likely be a directional rider to HHS with the final budget. We will update you on the progress of that rider
· Base Attendant Wages: $33.6 million in new General Revenue Funding ($86.9 million All Funds) to increase the base wages for community attendants by approximately 11 cents/hour (see also House Rider 119). This was the funding proposed in the final House budget.
· Rate Enhancement: $20.1 million in new General Revenue Funds ($51.9 million All Funds) to fully fund rate enhancement programs for community care and intellectual and developmental disabilities providers (See also Senate Rider 116). Note – this decision is more than double what the final Senate budget included for this purpose $9.1 million General Revenue/$23.2 million in All Funds).
· EVV: HHSC received $8.1 million in General Revenue Funds ($32.1 million All Funds) and 2.0 FTEs related to the administration of electronic visit verification (EVV) (funding not targeted to providers).
Private Duty Nursing – N/A at this time; an informational rider related to the rate increase could be included in the final budget
· Rate increase rider – N/A at this time; an informational rider related to the rate increase could be included in the final budget
· Medicaid Therapy Services Reporting (House Rider 17/Senate Rider 15). The Conference Committee adopted the House version of the rider, which was drafted by TAHC&H, with some modifications. The rider was amended to include additional data (resolution of appeals) and to require HHSC to ensure standard data reporting and use feedback obtained from stakeholders (not just providers).
· Community Attendant Workforce Development Strategies/Recruitment and Retention Strategic Plan (House Rider 119/Senate Rider 116). The House version was adopted, with amendments to require HHSC to include additional information in the strategic plan.
· Information on Funding Provided for Rate Enhancements Across Community-based Programs (Senate Rider 130). The Conference Committee adopted the Senate version of the rider that identifies funding to fully fund the rate enhancement program for community care and intellectual and developmental disabilities providers.
· Electronic Visit Verification. The Conference Committee drafted a new rider to require HHSC to explore options to reduce costs associated with electronic visit verification requirements.
· Cost containment. The Health and Human Services Commission budget assumes a reduction of $350.0 million in General Revenue Funds ($900.0 million All Funds) associated with Medicaid cost containment. The rider gives HHSC authority to identify cost containment initiatives and does not provide a list as done in prior sessions. Although the Senate version of the Cost Containment Rider was adopted (see Senate Rider 19), it was amended to include the House language that HHSC is to achieve savings without changing the amount, scope, and duration of services.
Rachel Hammon, BSN, RN