HCAM/MCAL Washington, D.C. Fly In Delivers the Message

A delegation from HCAM/MCAL hit the ground running in Washington, D.C. last week. participating in the July 13-15, American Health Care Association annual Congressional briefing, the HCAM/MCAL team met with members of the Michigan Congressional delegation and staff to discuss the issues of importance to HCAM/MCAL members. The fly in came at a critical time for health care in general and long term care in particular. Raising the federal debt ceiling must be accomplished by August 2. The debt ceiling debate is dominating all else as the President and Congress seek a compromise in advance of the deadline. An expansive menu of spending reductions is being offered as part of the compromise package. These options include massive reductions to Medicare post acute care reimbursement through CMS issuance of a prospective payment rule and Medicaid cuts that include phasing down of the provider tax program, lowering the federal match percentage and block granting the entire Medicaid program to the states. In addition to objecting to the reductions listed above, CMS has published rules that would define Medicaid home and community-based settings for the first time. These regulations have the  potential to exclude most types of assisted living communities from the Medicaid program. We objected to these rules as well.

Our messages were:

  • Urge CMS not to issue the prospective payment rule in its present form which would reduce Medicare rates by 12.8%. Consistent with the AHCA position, we recommended more complete data analysis and a more gradual approach to bringing the RUGS IV program back to budget neutrality.
  • Oppose Medicaid block grant which would eliminate the nursing home entitlement.
  • Oppose proposals to eliminate the Medicaid provider tax program.
  • Object to the CMS rule which would exclude assisted living from the Medicaid definition of home and community-based settings.

We were very encouraged with what we heard and with the support for nursing, rehabilitation and assisted living communities that we received from our Members of Congress. The HCAM/MCAL delegation visited with the offices of Senator Debbie Stabenow and Representatives Dave Camp, Hansen Clarke, Candice Miller, and Fred Upton. We were honored to have personal visits with Representatives Camp and Clarke (3rd from left in photo.)

We thank all members and staff who took the time to visit with us

I would  like to recognize and thank those who made the trip.
Representing HCAM and MCAL in Washington last week were:

Gail Clarkson (The MediLodge Group)

Jana Broughton (MediLodge of Howell)

Jeff Schade (The Peplinski Group)

Reggie Hartsfield (Advantage Management Group)

Karen Messick (Pilgrim Manor)

Linda Lawther (MCAL)

Laurie Shepard (Ingham Regional Assisted Living)

Todd Dockerty (Woodland Terrace)

David LaLumia (HCAM)

We will continue to be successful into the future if we are united, work hard in and out of our facilities and continue to provide quality care. We all need to improve the way we communicate what we do to our elected officials, especially during this time when our health care system is evolving and all government financed health care programs are under intense scrutiny.
Thanks again to all who made the trip to D.C. last week.

This article was published in the July 20 issue of The Health Care Association of Michigan Pulse Newsletter.  It was written by HCAM CEO David LaLumia.

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