Governor Mills Biennial Budget Proposal & Long Term Care Funding Update

January 11, 2023—Governor Mills unveiled her budget proposal for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024-2025 biennium. The proposal builds on the significant progress achieved under her last budget by continuing her free community college initiative for another two years, expanding pre-K, building more housing, and strengthening Maine's health care system, including investing in behavioral health, services for older Mainers and people with disabilities, and child welfare. The proposed budget totals $10.3 billion, the most in state history.  
MHCA met with DHHS representatives in advance of the release of the proposal. The following list highlights budget items impacting long term care:
  • An additional one-time COVID-related payment of $25 million for the current year (SFY 2023) which will be available into SFY 2024 to facilitate pandemic recovery as the Department works with stakeholders to reform how nursing homes are paid
  • $47 Million in cost-of-living increase (all funds) in light of increasing inflation
  • $29 Million in rebasing for FY 2025
  • $10 Million over the biennium to continue high Maine Care utilization payments for PNMI-Cs
  • $4.8 Million in special supplemental payments over the biennium for the Maine Veteran's Homes to make permanent the one-time payment from the administration for the prior year
  • Nursing facility payment reform to reward quality and make payments less administratively cumbersome (legislation has been introduced by the Department to begin this process and to incentivize quality related initiatives).
Rate Reform Update:
  • We also discussed the rate reform initiative that is underway. DHHS invites stakeholder engagement, so mark your calendars for the first stakeholder meeting to be held on February 1st from 9-11 am. Additional details will be forthcoming.
  • The timeline for the new rate model is still January 2025, and we anticipate an update or replacement of the RUGS model. We also know that the Department has hired a vendor to assist with this rate reform work, and that vendor is Guidehouse. One of their projects will be doing a county-by-county needs assessment.
This biennial budget proposal is a good start, but there is more work to be done. We know how challenging these last several years have been, and without increased funding, more long term care facilities will close. MHCA will be very actively engaged in this rate reform process and will tirelessly advocate for increased funding for long term care providers to ensure your sustainability and preservation of access to care for Maine's most vulnerable citizens.
Staff contact: awesthoff@mehca.or