MCOA Membership: We still need MORE Co-Sponsors

We need more Senators to sign on to be a Co-Sponsor of the following amendments. They can sign on thru Monday, May 20th using their internal system “quill”.  Each of you to contact your Senators and make the case to restore funding to the Service Incentive Grant (SIG) program and increase funding for Elder Mental Health Outreach Teams (EMHOT). Even if you do not currently benefit from either a SIG grant or are in a catchment area of an EMHOT, we ask you to consider the impact that the 28% SIG shortfall has on the network and also consider the need to expand geriatric mental health services beyond the five existing regions. Currently each amendment has less than a handful of co-sponsors; we need two dozen to be actively considered.

Disclaimer:

MCOA Membership should recognize that certain members because of leadership position cannot sign onto amendments; in addition some members prefer not to sign onto multiple statewide initiatives to focus on local needs. We ask that you simply thank them for at least considering our request.

Latest list of Co-Sponsors as of 10pm Thursday, May 16th

  • Amendment EHS # 655 Grants to Councils on Aging  Current tally: 15 co-sponsors

Ms. Rausch, Ms. Jehlen, Messrs. Brady, Moore and Welch, Ms. DiZoglio, Messrs. Finegold, Feeney, O’Connor and Eldridge, Ms. Comerford, Messrs. Kennedy, Lesser, Timilty and Keenan moved that the proposed new text be amended in section 2, in item 9110-9002, by striking out the figure “$16,740,125” and inserting in place thereof the figure:- “$17,225,000”.

This will maintain the Formula Grant at $12/elder and restore the FY18 midyear 9c cut. 

  • Amendment # EHS 578 Mental Health for Older Adults Current tally: 11 co-sponsors

Mr. Cyr, Ms. Jehlen, Messrs. Eldridge and Welch, Ms. DiZoglio, Messrs. Feeney, O’Connor and Moore, Ms. Rausch, Messrs. Timilty and Keenan moved that the proposed new text be amended in section 2, in item 9110-1640, by striking out the figure “$500,000″ and inserting in place thereof the following figure:- “$800,000”.

This will allow expansion of two-three new projects.

Your Senator’s contact Information can be found at https://malegislature.gov/Legislators/Members/Senate

  • Action Steps:Line Up staffers, board members and consumers; Call Your Senators; Make the above requests; Say “THANK YOU FOR CONSDIERING THIS REQUEST”; then Hang Up and Hand the Phone to the next in line… Use email as well or this Friday’s office hours…

Background SIG Funding

Line Item 9110-9002 is comprised of two parts: The Formula Grant (FG) and the Service Incentive Grant (SIG). At $12/elder the total needed for the FG is $15,453,216. That includes a minimum of $6000 for smaller COAs. The SIG grant portion traditionally have been 10% above the FG figure or in this case $1,545,322 for a total of $16,998,538 or $17m. The Senate Ways and Means has already included $225,000 within this line item so the final requested allocation is $17,225,000. If additional earmarks are added please make sure the language is accompanied by the requisite allocation.

The original source of the short funding can be traced to the FY18 “9c cut” of this line item of 3% and was never restored. In FY18 the Secretary actually lowered the FG allocation to $9.70/elder and level funded the SIG contracts.  That year the EOEA Secretary approved SIG funding for local transportation and outreach projects; statewide licenses for Benefits Checkup and Aging Mastery Programs; job fair, housing, and benefits counseling programs; diversity training, retirement planning, and caregiver support; training and technical assistance for COA staff and board; systems inventory; support for age and dementia friendly initiatives; a grant writer who brings into the COA network 15x her salary; and oversight of the elder mental health demonstration projects.  These grants for the most part are competitive demonstration grants that promote regionalization and innovation.

 In FY19 the SIG grants were cut by 28% to make the $12/elder Formula Grant a reality as specified by the Legislature. The grants detailed above were all cut.

FY20: The language in SWM budget underfunds the line item #9110-9002 by $484,875. If this shortfall stands then the SIG would be reduced 28% again in FY20. We need $17,225,000 which includes earmarks already proffered by SWM.

Background Elder Mental Health

Restored Line Item  9110-1640 (previously an earmark) states “For the geriatric mental health program, including outreach, counseling, resource management and system navigation for community-dwelling elders with mental health needs ……………………………………………………… $500,000”

We request an additional $300,000 for a total of $800,000 to establish 2-3 more projects through a competitive grant process. More details on the existing five projects: EMHOT Fact Sheet

 Thank you for your attention to this matter

David P. Stevens, Executive Director, Massachusetts Councils on Aging

In addition MCOA also actively supports the following amendments to the FY20 SWM Budget proposal: Sponsor List as of 3pm Wednesday May 15th 

EHS 541 Home Care Aide Training Grant Program

Ms. Jehlen, Mr. Moore and Ms. DiZoglio moved that the proposed new text be amended in section 2, by adding the following line item:  XXXX-XXXX For a grant program administered by the Secretary of Elder Affairs focused on advanced skill training for the home care aide workforce that serves consumers of the elder home care program administered by the Department of Elder Affairs………..$1,000,000.

EHS 539 Home and Community Based Services Rate Add-On for Wages

Ms. Jehlen, Mr. Moore, Ms. Rausch and Mr. Feeney moved that the proposed new text be amended in section 2, by inserting after item 9110-1633 the following item:  XXXX-XXXX For adjustments to rates and capitations for home and community based services provided through line items 9110-1630, 9110-0600, and 4000-0601; provided further that $13,010,000 shall be provided for an adjustment to approved program rates issued under line items 9110-1630 and 9110-0600 to provide a rate add-on for wages, compensation and/or salary related costs for personnel providing homemaker and personal care homemaker services; and provided further that $15,000,000. shall be provided for adjusting rates for home health aide services funded through line item 4000-0601 for the purpose of providing Title XIX services…………$28,010,0000

EHS 434  SNAP Gap Pilot

Messrs. DiDomenico and Eldridge, Ms. Comerford, Messrs. Welch and Moore, Ms. Jehlen, Ms. DiZoglio and Mr. Crighton moved that the proposed new text be amended in section 2, in item 4000-0300, by adding the following words:- “; provided further, that $2,000,000 shall be provided to the the executive office to establish a pilot to allow low-income applicants and recipients of MassHealth and Medicare Savings Program the option to initiate an application for federally-funded supplemental nutrition assistance benefits at the same time as their application or renewal for MassHealth or Medicare Savings Program; provided further, the executive office shall ensure that eligibility information and verifications provided by the applicant or recipient that are relevant to said nutrition program is transferred from MassHealth to the Department of Transitional Assistance for use in their determination of eligibility; provided further, the executive office shall provide a report no later than October 1, 2019 to the executive office of administration and finance and the house and senate committees for ways and means on the additional costs and federal reimbursement opportunities involved in a common application portal for all MassHealth and Medicare Savings Program applicants and recipients with gross incomes under 200% of the federal poverty level”; and by striking out the figure “$107,816,936” and inserting in place thereof the following figure:- “$109,816,936”.

EHS 544 Healthy Incentives Program

Ms. Gobi, Ms. Comerford, Messrs. Lesser, Brady, Crighton, Welch, Kennedy, Eldridge and Moore, Ms. Rausch, Ms. DiZoglio, Mr. Feeney, Ms. Jehlen, Messrs. Humason and O’Connor moved that the proposed new text be amended in section 2, in item 4400-1001, by striking out, in line 24, the figure “$6,500,000” and inserting in place thereof the following figure :- “$8,500,000”; and by striking the figure $10,027,882 and inserting in place thereof the following figure:- “$12,027,882”

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Massachusetts Councils
on Aging

116 Pleasant Street, Suite 306
Easthampton, MA 01027
Telephone: 413-527-6425
Fax: 413-527-7138