MHCA Legislative updates for the week of February 14th

On Tuesday, February 15, MHCA testified in opposition to LD 1791, An Act Directing the Department of Health and Human Services To Provide Notice to Hospitals of Nursing Facility Closures.
This bill as originally drafted would require the Department of Health and Human Services to provide notice of a nursing facility's voluntary closure to all hospitals located in the same county or in an adjacent county within 25 miles. The Department would be required to provide the notice within two business days after receiving the notice of closure from the nursing facility. A subsequent amendment proposed by the Maine Hospital Association struck the geographic restrictions and would require notice to all hospitals in the state.
MHCA testified against this bill citing concerns over the timing and the undue stress to residents, families, and guardians if a premature closure notice is made before they are notified by the facility. MHCA is meeting with stakeholders to discuss possible alternatives in advance of the work session scheduled for February 24th.
In other news, the Health and Human Services Committee and the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee met jointly on Thursday, February 17th for a briefing by the Department on MaineCare rate increases. The presentation included an overview of the 125% minimum wage increases and cost of living increases for multiple provider types, including nursing facilities and PNMI-C providers. Rate letters are anticipated to be released by the end of this month and rates will be retroactive to January 1, 2022. Subject to legislative approval, Sections 67 and 97, Appendix C providers will also see the partial restoration of the Supplemental Wage Allowance (SWA) as a rate add-on.
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