Massachusetts is facing some significant budget cuts, especially in the area of home health care. The latest proposal from Governor Baker is expected to trim 25 percent funding for home health care, especially nursing care at home.
While many agencies across the state have been relatively supportive of proposed changes in the past, many are saying this is going too far. The cuts could leave a significant portion of the 1.9 million men and women who rely on this type of home care support without the services they need.
Currently, the rate cut would directly impact about 7,000 people. Most of these would be men and women who have been receiving some type of nursing care at home for more than six months. Some of these individuals have been getting this support for many years.
Some advocates for patients in need of these services say the cuts would effectively make it impossible for them to receive adequate or even proper care within the comfort of their home, leaving them with few options.
As reported by Priyanka Dayal McCluskey, Boston Globe staff writer, in the news article, Medicaid cut could scale back nurses’ visits to patients’ homes:
“Leaders of several agencies said the proposed 25 percent rate cut would make it unaffordable for them to continue sending nurses to the homes of people with complex, chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and schizophrenia. Patients may lose access to nursing services at home, and they could end up in nursing homes, the agencies said.
Governor Charlie Baker’s team is seeking to rein in the taxpayer-funded Medicaid program, or MassHealth, which serves 1.9 million people with little or no income. Officials have singled out MassHealth’s spending on home health, which includes nursing, physical therapy, and other services, as an area that especially needs trimming. MassHealth’s outlays are expected to rise 5 percent in the next fiscal year, to $16.2 billion, accounting for about 40 percent of the state budget.”
The proposed rate cut is set to go into effect in July, but the state noted there will be a period for public input to be heard. Currently, MassHealth, the state’s main government health management program, in which these home nursing care services are encapsulated, accounts for 40 percent of the state’s spending and the Governor is looking for ways to reduce that burden on the taxpayers.