State Budget

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Contact Your Legislators Today!

On Tuesday, February 5, Governor Wolf unveiled his state budget proposal for the Fiscal Year 2019-20. The Governor’s budget spends a total of $34.1 billion (a 2.8%, or $930 million, increase from last year). But it does so without any calls for an increase to the personal income tax or sales tax. There’s no broadening of the sales tax base, either (which, as you might recall, included long-term care services when it was first introduced five years ago).

Funding for Long-Term Care

The Governor’s proposal did not include an increase in the long-term care line item. Once again, nursing facilities were flat-funded for the fifth year of Governor Wolf’s term in office (that’s a perfect 5-5). Additionally, the MDOI was again removed from the Governor’s proposed budget, forcing the legislature’s hand to add the dollars back. Obviously, we intend to advocate up from flat funding and for continued funding of the MDOI as the budget process moves forward.

In addition, the budget proposed additional funding for seven new staff to conduct increased inspections of AL and PC facilities.

This now begins the 2019 budget process, and it will be a busy few months. Our consistent messaging and our strengthened legislative relationships will all be put to the test. Please be assured that we will be aggressive in our fight for every dollar available.

Click here for a copy of PHCAs statement expressing our continued frustration with the Governor’s lack of support.

How You Can Help!

Over the next several weeks we need you to contact your state legislator and share with them the tremendous negative impact that continued flat funding is having on your facility and the residents you care for. Invite them to visit your facility. If they can’t visit, schedule a meeting with them in their district office. Don’t take NO for an answer.

If you don’t know who your local state legislator is, click here to find out!

If you need assistance in setting up a visit or meeting with your local state legislator contact Zach Shamberg, PHCA Director of Legislative Affairs at zshamberg@phca.org.

Minimum Wage and Workforce

The Governor proposed a $12 minimum wage that would begin on July 1, 2019. The rate would then be increased annually by 50 cents until it hits $15, after which the rate would be adjusted based on the annual consumer price index. It’s worth noting that neighboring states, including New Jersey and Maryland, have either passed (or are in the process of passing) increases to the minimum wage. This is another issue that PHCA will be actively engaged in over the course of this budget process.

The Governor also unveiled a plan to boost training programs for workers and to help connect workers to available jobs. He noted that Amazon cited workforce concerns as a top issue in deciding against placing its second headquarters in Pennsylvania…so his Administration will 1) launch the ‘Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center’, 2) bring together state cabinet officials more often to discuss workforce issues, and 3) fund a public-private partnership to help businesses address the gap in skills needed for certain jobs and share best practices. PHCA will aggressively pursue opportunities for the sector to access these programs as access to a qualified and trained workforce continues to be one of the biggest issues facing our members.

If you have any questions about the budget contact Zach Shamberg, PHCA Director of Legislative Affairs at zshamberg@phca.org. For questions about the minimum wage or workforce contact Pete Tartline, PHCA COO at ptartline@phca.org.

Issue Briefs

2019-20 State Budget

This brief makes the case for seniors to be a priority in the 2019-20 state budget: Medicaid funded nursing facilities need a 2.8% increase in the FY 2019-2020 budget and the legislature must provide $17 million to fully fund the Medicaid Access Program to preserve access to care.

February 2019
Medicaid Funding for Nursing Facilities: A Crisis for Senior and Caregivers

An average Pennsylvania nursing facility caring for 100 Medical Assistance (MA) residents is under-reimbursed by almost $1.75 million annually or ($47.50) per day of care by Medicaid, according to PA’s own Case Mix Rate System. Current MA Rates do NOT cover the costs of providing quality care to Pennsylvania’s seniors. MA underfunding is directly contributing to the sales of PA nursing facilities.

February 2019
Pennsylvania’s Long-Term Care Medicaid Funding: MYTH VS. FACT

MYTH: Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) is less costly to the Pennsylvania Medicaid program than Nursing Home Care. FACT: When a Medicaid-eligible Pennsylvanian needs round-the-clock skilled nursing and rehabilitation services (which are provided to them in a nursing home), that level of care is the most efficient use of Pennsylvania’s tax dollars—and the safest and most appropriate level of care for that individual.

February 2019
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