Legislative Session Highlights for the Week of March 7th, 2022

On Tuesday and Thursday this week, the Health and Human Services Committee is convening to discuss relevant sections of the Supplement Budget. The Supplemental Budget, LD 1995, includes a one-time $25 million appropriation that would provide COVID-19 specific relief to long term care providers to help avoid a cliff event on July 1st and it also provides for a partial restoration of the Supplemental Wage Allowance ($7.5 million). In addition, the supplemental includes an appropriation of $5.3 million for the support of PNMI-C providers that care for a very high volume of MaineCare beneficiaries.

However, MHCA is deeply concerned with being left out of the Supplemental Budget fix for the 125% of minimum wage increases. This legislation (Part AAAA of LD 221) mandated that the labor portion of MaineCare provider reimbursement cover the costs of implementing 125% of minimum wage including wages, taxes, and benefits. There were errors in those calculations. The Supplemental Budget is the mechanism to correct those calculations and appropriate the needed funds. The shortfall in the minimum wage appropriation for nursing and residential care facilities is approximately $66 million. We are actively meeting with members of the legislature to address this shortfall.
The Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs will be holding a work session on March 10th on LD 1807, An Act to Expand Nursing Education Programs.

Finally, the Veteran's and Legal Affairs Committee will be holding a work session on March 11th on LD 2001, An Act To Fund and Support the Veterans Homes in Caribou and Machias and Require Legislative Approval for the Establishment and Closure of Veterans Homes.

Staff contact: