Archive April 2023

All of the articles archived for the month that you have specified are displayed below.

Legislative Update

Next week is looking to have many bills that affect our industry. A few bills to highlight that MHCA will testify on are LD 1575 - An Act to Promote Quality and Innovation in Nursing and Residential Care Facilities and LD 1601 - An Act Regarding Visitation Policies for Long-term Care Facilities, Hospice Providers and Hospitals. We will also testify on LD 1797 - An Act to Expand Maine's Health Care Workforce by Expanding Educational Opportunities and Providing Tax Credits and LD 1718 - An Act to Encourage Participation in Maine's Essential Support Workforce Through Access to Higher Education.

The MHCA team will monitor bills as they are printed and scheduled for hearings and work sessions. 

Staff contact:

Mills Administration Issues $25 Million in COVID-19 Payments to Long-Term Care Organizations

Governor Mills proposed and the Legislature approved the payments in the bipartisan supplemental budget to help facilities recover from the pandemic

Governor Janet Mills announced today that her Administration has issued $25 million in COVID-19 supplemental payments to 129 long-term care organizations to support their continued recovery from the pandemic. Governor Mills proposed the MaineCare (Medicaid) payments in her supplemental budget that she signed into law in February following its bipartisan passage by the Legislature.

This is the second round of COVID-19 payments the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has provided to nursing facilities and other long-term care facilities in this fiscal year for pandemic recovery, after a previous round of $25 million in August 2022.

“Long-term care facilities provide critical services for Maine people, and they are still feeling the lingering impacts of the pandemic – challenges that have only been made more difficult by increased costs,” said Governor Janet Mills. “I am pleased we are getting these resources into the hands of our nursing facilities and other caregivers so they can continue to do their important work, and I thank the Legislature for supporting my proposal to provide this additional funding. My Administration will continue to work to ensure that high-quality, affordable long-term care is available for Maine people.”
“This last round of COVID-19 payments will help long-term care facilities offset remaining pandemic-related expenses as they continue to recover,” said Jeanne Lambrew, Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services. “These payments are part of unprecedented support for these facilities in light of their critical role during the COVID-19 pandemic and reflect Governor Mills’ commitment to ensuring that high-quality long-term care is affordable and accessible for Maine people.”

“Today's announcement is welcomed news as Maine's long-term care facilities continue to deal with ongoing impacts of the pandemic including a severe staffing shortage,” said Angela Westhoff, President and CEO of the Maine Health Care Association. “This supplemental support comes at a critical time as nursing homes and residential care facilities are experiencing atypical and exorbitant costs. We are grateful for the Administration and the Legislature’s support and look forward to a continued partnership to address the work force crisis and preserve access to long term care.”

The payments are available for the current 2023 fiscal year and into state Fiscal Year 2024 to facilitate pandemic recovery as the Department continues to work with stakeholders to reform how nursing homes are paid to reward quality and streamline payment administration.

The 129 organizations receiving funds represent 262 service locations throughout the state. The $25 million will be distributed proportional to demonstrated facility need as determined by historical revenue, resident vacancy rates, and spending on contract labor due to staffing shortages.

The supplemental and biennial budget investments build on the Mills Administration’s historic financial and operational support for nursing facilities, which includes:
  • In June 2019, Governor Mills signed into law a biennial budget that dedicated $25 million to provide a cost-of-living adjustment to nursing facilities. As a result, nursing facility rates increased, on average, by five percent for Fiscal Year 2020;
  • In March 2020, at the onset of the pandemic, the Mills Administration began $9 million in temporary payment rate increases to nursing facilities for extra costs associated with COVID-19, including staffing above and beyond customary levels to maintain proper ratios and to monitor residents and screen visitors, supplies and PPE, such as face masks and gowns, beyond the amounts typically purchased;
  • In November 2020, the Mills Administration announced that it would reimburse nursing facilities for their costs to conduct Federally-required surveillance testing using commercial laboratories;
  • In December 2020, the Mills Administration awarded $5.1 million to health care facilities, most of which were nursing facilities, to cover expenses resulting from the pandemic;
  • In July 2021, Governor Mills signed the FY22-23 biennial budget that dedicated $36.4 million in cost-of-living adjustments and rebasing funding for nursing facilities;
  • In August 2021, the Mills Administration awarded $12.5 million to nursing and residential care facilities to help them cover expenses resulting from the pandemic;
  • In September 2021, the Mills Administration delivered $123 million in one-time funding, including $30 million in General Fund dollars authorized through the biennial budget signed into law by the Governor, for nursing facilities, residential care facilities, and adult family care homes to help address workforce issues by retaining current staff or hiring new staff;
  • In December 2021, the Mills Administration announced its plan to increase rates for long-term care facilities by $4.5 million from January to June 2022, and add another $7.6 million through the budget for supplemental wage adjustments for fiscal year 2022;
  • Effective July 1, 2022, payment rates increased to support paying direct care workers at least 125 percent of minimum wage, on top of rebasing rates which resulted in rates increasing, on average, by 20 percent over the prior year; and on January 1, 2023, rates increased further to support 125 percent of minimum wage;
  • In August 2022, the Mills Administration issued $25 million in one-time funding for nursing facilities, residential care facilities, and adult family care homes to help address ongoing workforce issues and relatively low occupancy;
  • Since January 2021, the Department has used over $2 million in Federal funds to support emergency nurse and related staffing to nearly one-third of Maine long-term care facilities to support care for residents during the pandemic.
This is in addition to at least $50 million in financial relief distributed directly by the Federal government to nursing facilities across Maine.

Recognizing the need to address the workforce challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Mills included $20 million in the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan to support health care workforce training. The Jobs Plan additionally supports marketing campaigns aimed at promoting health care careers in Maine and Healthcare Training for ME, a program to expand the availability of free and low-cost career training to help health care workers advance their careers, support workforce training needs of health care employers, and attract new workers to fast-growing fields. The Jobs Plan is also supporting the Caring for ME campaign to educate and encourage residents to become direct care providers.

Staff contact:

Information for MaineCare Providers Regarding the End of the Public Health Emergency

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government declared a PHE and relaxed certain requirements to ensure Medicaid members could continue to access healthcare services. The federal government has declared that the PHE will end on May 11, 2023.  

Starting May 12, 2023, some billing flexibilities and how MaineCare members access health care services will revert to how they were administered prior to the declaration of the PHE.  

The Department of Health and Human Services is working to update their COVID-19 and End of PHE webpage with current information concerning the end of the PHE and will send notifications as they make updates.  

They have recently added or updated the website.  

To support MaineCare providers through this transitional period, MaineCare developed a provider-only e-mail box to submit questions related to the end of the PHE.

Staff contact:

Update on Nursing Facility and Residential Care Facilities Rate Reform Workgroup

MaineCare previously provided notice that they had initiated a rate determination process for Section 67, Nursing Facilities and Section 97, Residential Care Facilities. As part of the rate determination process, MaineCare and their vendor Guidehouse Inc. are hosting several work groups with interested stakeholders to obtain important feedback.

On April 12, 2023, MaineCare and Guidehouse Inc. hosted the second Rate Methodology work group meeting. You may view the presented materials and a recording of that meeting on the MaineCare Rate System Reform webpage.

Please contact Bryan Lumbra, Rate Setting Project Manager, with any questions related to this rate reform initiative.

Staff contact:

National Infection Prevention Forum

The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) and AHCA/NCAL have collaborated to create the National Infection Prevention Forum (Forum), an online platform for infection preventionists working in long-term care. The primary goal of the Forum is to rapidly disseminate the latest information on infectious diseases, with tools and resources from the CDC and other federal agencies available to safeguard residents and staff.
 The Forum, supported by funding from the CDC's Project Firstline, is a collaborative space where infection preventionists can share their best practices and participate in expert-led discussions. It is hosted on the AHCA/NCAL Connect, an online community platform that facilitates group discussions and organizes resources and tools.

 Interested individuals can register to join the National Infection Prevention Forum for free. Register now to learn more about this invaluable resource.  Learn more and register 


BerryDunn offering healthcare financial update on May 24th

You're invited to join BerryDunn's healthcare finance experts for updates on healthcare’s biggest challenges, including:
  • Optimizing your revenue cycle as COVID-19 waivers come to an end.
  • Understanding the latest compliance and credentialing requirements and best practices.
  • Adapting to mergers and acquisitions in a rapidly evolving economic climate.
  • Keeping up with regulatory updates, including the unwinding of PHE, reimbursement updates, and more.
Click here for details.  If you have questions, please contact BerryDunn directly at       

Opioid and alcohol use disorder in Care Centers

Individuals struggling with opioid and/or alcohol use disorders are growing at alarming rates and elderly people are not excluded from this trend. Care centers across the country are now struggling to help residents find a path toward treatment and recovery. 
Join us at 1:00pm on May 18, 2023 for a 1-hour (free) webinar called, Opioid & Alcohol Use Disorders in Care Centers.  This program will provide an overview of alcohol and opioid use disorders, how they affect elderly individuals, treatment options for long-term care settings, and more.  For more details, click here to visit the event page on our website. 
Staff Contact:


Legislative Update

The Health and Human Services Committee voted ought not to pass on two bills that MHCA had previously testified on with some concerns. Those bills were LD 1099, An Act to Protect Vulnerable Populations in Residential Facilities from Extended Power Outages and LD 781, An Act to Protect Nursing Home Residents by Requiring Nursing Homes to Provide Silent Bed Alarms for Residents with Dementia. 

Additionally, the HHS Committee voted ought to pass as amended to LD 938, An Act to Assist Nursing Homes in the Management of Facility Beds. As amended, this bill restores the ability of nursing facilities to voluntarily reduce the number of their licensed beds and then later increase the number of their licensed beds to the prior level after obtaining a certificate of need and meeting certain conditions. The bill requires the Department of Health and Human Services to include in its calculation of reimbursement for services provided by a nursing facility the cost incurred by the facility for a medical director and removes the $10,000 annual cap. MHCA testified in support of this bill and will continue to monitor its progress. 

Angela Westhoff is testifying on LD 1474, Resolve, Directing the Department of Health and Human Services to Expedite Reimbursement of Nursing Facilities at the HHS Committee hearing today, April 20. This bill originated from our Legislation Committee and would require the Department of Health and Human Services to amend its rules in Chapter 101: MaineCare Benefits Manual, Chapter III, Section 67, Principles of Reimbursement for Nursing Facilities, to require the department to reimburse at least 75% of a nursing facility's costs pursuant to the facility's cost reports within 90 days of receipt. At the same hearing, Angela is also testifying on LD 1037 and LD 1521. 

Staff contact:

Age-Positivity – A Public Health Imperative!

Age-Positivity – A Public Health Imperative!
Tuesday, April 25 & Thursday, April 27
8:45am - 12:45pm
Virtual Event

Did you know that age-positivity is associated with a longer, significantly healthier life? It turns out how we feel about getting older really does matter, and the culture around us has an impact on our health and health outcomes.

Culture Matters!

Public health promotes and protects the health of people and the communities where they live, learn, work, and play. This Summit will explore how public health professionals, social service agencies, communities, and people can learn and collaborate together to flip the script about getting old and being old. Imagine, success means reducing depression, anxiety, chronic conditions, and dementia!

Join the Age-Friendly Public Health Movement

There’s an incredible movement working across the country, with a framework that works to expand the role of public health systems in improving the health and well-being of older adults. Our first Keynote panel will share best practices learned from the first few years of this movement.  

On April 25 Keynote speakers Jane Carmody, Senior Program Officer at The John A. Hartford Foundation and Karon Phillips, Policy Development Manager at the Trust for America's Health will join a panel of experts from Washington State and Michigan to discuss "Collaborations & Lessons Learned in Creating Age-Friendly Systems."

Unpacking the Tools to Success

On day two of the Summit, we’ll explore the culture that supports age-bias and negative views of aging and older people. We have to understand the culture to shift it. By understanding the cultural norms in our society – how we think and talk about aging – we can learn to flip the script and uncover the tools we need to build an age-positive culture. Our second Keynote panel will help us begin to build our tool boxes for age-positive success.

On April 27 Keynote speaker Mary Lou Ciolfi, Senior Program Manager at the University of Maine Center on Aging will join a panel of experts to discuss "The Surprising Science of Elder Speak."

For more information about the full Summit event, click here to read the full agenda. 

Unable to join us for the live event?
All sessions will be recorded and available to attendees and registrants for a period of time after the event. Register today to have access to the recorded event!

Closed Captioning is available for this event.
Contact us for more information.

Scholarships and Registration Discounts are Available!
Please see the Registration page for more information.

Staff contact:

Maine Attorney General Joins Other State AGs in Request for more SNF Ownership Information

According this McKnight’s article, the attorneys general from a diverse group of states have thrown their support behind a federal proposal to increase public reporting of nursing home ownership and related party information, saying the current reporting standard “hampers law enforcement efforts to address substandard care.”
The 18 AGs, all considered the chief law enforcement officials for their states, expressed support for the transparency rule in a letter to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. The letter, publicized this week, was submitted on April 14, ahead of the end of the rule’s formal comment period.
The effort was led by New York Attorney General Letitia James and Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell and co-signed by the AGs in Arizona, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.
The letter cites challenges related to identifying and holding accountable those owners whose roles or financial interest had been concealed from the public. Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association, has called the agency’s focus on private equity ownership “a red herring,” noting that such investors are involved in less than 5% of nursing homes. REITs account for about 12%, but Parkinson has said they typically have no influence on daily operations.
Staff contact:
<< [1] 2 3 >>