Tonight the house passed the Health and Human Service and Elderly Consolidated Amendment to the HWM’s FY20 Budget proposal, and it is great news on many levels. The House procedure groups any amendment filed by the established deadline, into clusters of similar design. There is a caucus session where the Sponsors can make their case and then the HWM Chair and the Speaker offer to amend their original recommendation through this consolidation process. Click on Amendment below for specific details:
Education and Local Aid
Adopted Roll Call #40
Energy and Environmental Affairs
Adopted Roll Call #41
Social Services and Veterans
Adopted Roll Call #42
Health and Human Services and Elder Affairs
Adopted Roll Call #43
From STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE…
“HHS/ELDER AFFAIRS: Rep. Michlewitz offered Consolidated Amendment D covering the categories of elder affairs and health and human services with a fiscal note of $8,059,875. Time was 7:48 p.m.
There were around 25 representatives in the chamber as Rep. Benson began speaking about the consolidated amendment.
Rep. Benson said, thank you. We lead the country in health insurance enrollment, health care access and our citizens are the healthiest in the nation because of it. This comes at a cost, of course, as health care funding makes up the largest part of our budget at 46 percent this year. With the various health care reforms we’ve passed into law since 2006, Massachusetts has become a model for other states looking to increase access to care and equality. This budget increases supports for seniors by increasing nursing home rates by up to 10 percent. It also increases Council on Aging funding to its highest level ever. I want to thank the Speaker. I urge my colleagues to support the consolidated amendment.
Rep. Balser said, thank you. I rise to speak in support of this consolidated amendment. As the newly appointed House chair of the Committee on Elder Affairs, I’m learning so much about the challenges that those of us who are aging in Massachusetts face. I’m so proud to be supporting this amendment, which supports the critical services that those who are aging in the state need and deserve. This budget was a very strong budget for elder affairs. We increased nursing home supplemental rates by $30 million over last year’s appropriation and over House 1. This budget expands the Medicare savings program and includes a priority of mine, the geriatric mental health services program, a critical program that meets the mental health needs of those who are aging. We also increased home delivery and congregate meals by $2.5 million. Additionally, as a result of this process of amendments and debates, we have added $5 million more for a further increase to nursing home supplemental rates. I cannot emphasize enough how important this is. The nursing home industry is in crisis in our state, and we are stepping up to address those needs. We have also increased funding for the Meals on Wheels program. Additionally, recognizing special needs of the LGBTQ community, we are supporting training on the needs of that community for a range of home care providers. Finally, we are granting $1.45 million additional to councils on aging for the full grant and infrastructure costs of local communities. I am very proud of the budget we are offering to the aging folks in Massachusetts, and I urge my colleagues to support this amendment.
Members began filing in to cast their votes on the consolidated amendment.
BY A ROLL CALL VOTE OF 154-0, the consolidated amendment was ADOPTED. Time was 7:58 p.m.”
- The final allocation for Line Item #9110-9002 fully funds the Service Incentive Grant Program and keeps the Formula Grant at $12/elder. Tricia Farley-Bouvier- Vice Chair of Elder Affairs assembled with your help 95 sponsors. It also includes $965,000 in earmarks for capital needs;
- home delivery and congregate meals programs were increased by $2.5 million;
- nursing home supplemental rates were increased by $30 million over last year’s appropriation;
- the Medicare savings program was expanded to include older adults up to 165% of poverty; and
- the specified Geriatric Mental Health Line Item 9110-1640 was re-established (Governor also included the specified line item) but I believe it was level funded at $500,000;
- section 2, in item 9110-1630, was amended by inserting after the word “training” the following words:- including, but not limited to, home care and home health providers, councils on aging, skilled nursing facilities and adult day health programs.
- Also earlier tonight via Becca Miller, HIP Campaign Manager MA Food System Collaborative: “Thanks to your work we had 129 cosponsors on amendment #476, the most of any amendment filed this session! The House budget will have $4.5 million for HIP included as part of consolidated amendment C. “
MCOA will review the entire budget once it is completed and provide details on any other line items that might impact older adults.
Congrats to all of you that contributed over the last several months to convince our Representatives to support this agenda.
I admit I was nervous when we started with only 19 sponsors for SIG and 15 for mental health; but through your efforts we ended with 95 for SIG and 77 for Geriatric Mental Health. GREAT JOB! THANKS!
David P. Stevens
Massachusetts Councils on Aging