News from Aging Services of Minnesota yesterday regarding the Health and Human Services Bill comes with some interesting notes.
According to Aging Services of Minnesota, the Health and Human Services Conference Committee bill passed both the House and Senate floors and now awaits Governor Dayton’s signature. In a year where there has been very little money available, lawmakers have placed a priority on senior care in funding and policy. Many of Aging Services and the Long-Term Care Imperative’s agenda items are included in the Conference Committee bill.
- The 1.67% Contingent Cut for waiver providers will not occur as originally scheduled on July 1, 2012. This provision is important so that senior care providers do not see additional cuts on top of the double-digit cuts they have received in recent years. Although the hope is that the Level of Care waiver will be approved and the contingent cut will not be necessary, the contingent cut would occur on July 1, 2013 under this bill, and the cost of shifting the cut ($21M) is almost all that the bill spends in the second biennium;
- Changes to the mandatory transitional consultation process to include provisions that require DHS to develop protocols for hospitals and health-care homes to identify at-risk older adults to determine when to refer them to mandatory consultation. It further requires hospital discharge planners to refer people to the mandatory consultation prior to discharge; allows “responsible parties” to be able to make the call on behalf of the prospective resident; permits people in emergency situations to move prior to making the call and makes the following exemptions: people seeking lease-only arrangements, people who have previously received a long-term care assessment, people entering hospice, and, people that have used financial planning services and created a long-term care plan in the last 12 months. DHS estimated that the requirement that hospital discharge planners provide referrals for consultation would produce $350 thousand in annual savings.
On the second point, we believe this is a step in the right direction. Although not what providers had hoped for, this change in the mandatory consultation should help. We still believe that consumers want good information to make informed decisions.
Roman Bloemke, Director of Operations at Welcome Home states: “I really believe that information is powerful for consumers. And while I applaud lawmakers for taking a step in the right direction, I hope that we can move the discussion to an earlier point in life. As consumers, if we know about our options earlier in life, we can begin to plan for our future.”
As the session progresses, we’ll continue to pass along information as it becomes available. We also want to say thank you to Aging Services of Minnesota for being a great resource for providers and getting our concerns across to lawmakers.