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Legislative Bulletin: All Hands on Deck for Budget Advocacy

All Hands on Deck for Budget Advocacy!

Legislative leaders had their eyes on the clock this week as final budget negotiations continued ahead of the April 1st deadline. A significant development occurred on Wednesday when the General Budget Conference Committee (the “Mothership”) announced “table targets,” the spending amounts that each of the joint legislative budget subcommittees can use to restore cuts, modify proposals, or fund new initiatives. $70 million has been allocated to the Health subcommittee, with $60 million for Human Services and $25 million for Environment/Housing/Agriculture. Lawmakers will not be able to cover all of their stated priorities with these amounts, so they will have to make some difficult choices over the next few days. During this stretch, other advocates will be flooding them with phone calls and social media posts promoting their initiatives. If we do not step up our efforts, particularly on Facebook and Twitter, our message will be drowned out.

LeadingAge NY needs your advocacy on several proposals pertaining to adult care facilities (ACFs), assisted living, nursing homes, home and community-based services (HCBS), and senior housing that remain up in the air. Your calls and social media messages are particularly imperative if your legislators serve on the Mothership or the budget subcommittees. Our service line-specific talking points, sample tweets and Facebook posts, and one-house budget summary will be useful in your efforts.

ACFs and Assisted Living

  • SSI Increase
    • Tell your Assembly representative: Please include the Senate’s proposal to increase the SSI rate for ACFs by $20 per day per resident over five years in the final budget agreement! #nybudget #SupportOurSeniors
    • Tell your Senator: Thank you for including an SSI increase for ACFs in your one-house budget proposal! Please continue this strong support during final budget negotiations. #nybudget #SupportOurSeniors
  • ALP Medicaid Trend Factor
    • Tell your Senator: Please include the Assembly’s proposal to provide a trend factor in the ALP Medicaid rate in the final budget agreement! #nybudget #SupportOurSeniors
  • ALP Expansion
    • Tell your Assembly representative: Please ensure that the final budget agreement includes the Senate’s proposal to expand the ALP and establish a certificate of need process moving forward, to ensure rational expansion in areas where there is need. #nybudget #SupportOurSeniors
  • Capital Funding
    • Tell your Assembly representative: Please ensure that the Senate’s health care capital transformation grant proposal, which includes a minimum of $25M for ALPs and hospice programs, is included in the final budget agreement! #nybudget #SupportOurSeniors

Nursing Homes

  • Trend Factor
    • Tell your Senator: Please include the Assembly’s proposal to provide a trend factor for Medicaid providers, including nursing homes, in the final budget agreement! #nybudget #SupportOurSeniors
  • Capital Funding
    • Tell your Assembly representative: Please ensure that the Senate’s health care capital transformation grant proposal, which sets aside $60M for nursing homes, is included in the final budget agreement! #nybudget #SupportOurSeniors
  • Case Mix
    • Tell your Assembly representative: Please follow the Senate’s lead and reject the Governor’s administrative budget proposal to reduce Medicaid patient acuity adjustments by $15M annually. #nybudget #SupportOurSeniors

HCBS

  • TBI/NHTD Managed Care Carve-Out
    • Tell your Assembly representative: Thank you for including language in your one-house budget proposal to delay the TBI/NHTD waiver transition into managed care. Please support the Senate’s proposal to make this a permanent carve-out! #nybudget #SupportOurSeniors
    • Tell your Senator: Thank you for including language in your one-house budget proposal to permanently carve TBI/NHTD out of managed care! Please continue this strong support during final budget negotiations. #nybudget #SupportOurSeniors
  • Public Health Priority Initiative for Home Care
    • Tell your Assembly representative: Please support the Senate’s one-house budget proposal to implement a Public Health Priority Initiative, to facilitate and support the role of home care agencies in the health care continuum! #nybudget #SupportOurSeniors
    • Tell your Senator: Thank you for providing for a Public Health Priority Initiative in your one-house budget proposal! Please continue this support during final budget negotiations. #nybudget #SupportOurSeniors
  • N/NORC Funding
    • Tell your Assembly representative: Thank you for including an additional $2M for NORCs and Neighborhood NORCs in your one-house budget proposal! Please continue this strong support during final budget negotiations. #nybudget #SupportOurSeniors
    • Tell your Senator: Please ensure that the Assembly’s request for $2M in additional NORC/Neighborhood NORC funding is included in the final budget agreement! #nybudget #SupportOurSeniors
  • Health Care Capital Transformation Grants
    • Tell your Assembly representative: Thank you for including additional health care capital funding in your one-house budget proposal! Please continue this strong support, especially for long term care providers, during final budget negotiations. #nybudget #SupportOurSeniors
    • Tell your Senator: Thank you for including additional health care capital funding in your one-house budget proposal, and for earmarking $25M specifically for home care! Please continue this strong support during final budget negotiations. #nybudget #SupportOurSeniors
  • Trend Factors for Long Term Care
    • Tell your Assembly representative: Thank you for including $230M for a trend factor for Medicaid providers in your one-house budget proposal! Please continue this strong support during final budget negotiations. #nybudget #SupportOurSeniors
    • Tell your Senator: Please include the Assembly’s proposal to provide a trend factor for Medicaid providers, including home care agencies, in the final budget agreement! #nybudget #SupportOurSeniors

Housing

  • Affordable Independent Senior Housing Assistance Program
    • Tell your Assembly representative: Please ensure that the Senate’s $10M request for an Affordable Independent Senior Housing Assistance Program is included in the final budget agreement! #nybudget #SupportOurSeniors
    • Tell your Senator: Thank you for including $10M for an Affordable Independent Senior Housing Assistance Program in your one-house budget proposal! Please continue this strong support during final budget negotiations. #nybudget #SupportOurSeniors

LeadingAge NY and Other Groups Thank Legislature for Rejecting Governor’s Proposed Public Health Program Consolidation and Cuts

This week, LeadingAge NY joined over a dozen public health groups on a letter thanking the Legislature for heeding our call and rejecting the Governor’s proposal to combine public health appropriations and reduce aggregate funding by 20 percent. As the letter explains, lawmakers’ opposition to the proposal, which would have impacted programs like the Enriched Housing subsidy that enable individuals to remain in the community and out of nursing homes, demonstrates “an understanding of how critical these funds are to the health and wellbeing of communities across New York.” LeadingAge NY encourages you to share this document with your lawmakers and urge their continued opposition to consolidation and cuts as budget negotiations go on.

Following Calls from LeadingAge NY and Other Housing Groups, Governor Cuomo Pledges Additional $250 Million for NYCHA

On Saturday, Governor Cuomo announced that he will request an additional $250 million in State funds to support the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), building on the State’s previous commitment of $300 million. Per the Governor’s press release, the funding is contingent on the “selection of [an] independent construction manager to ensure accountability” and will be used to “support improvements needed at NYCHA buildings, including securing heat and hot water for families that have gone weeks without these necessities, and the removal of decades-old mold and paint.”

The funding announcement came just weeks after LeadingAge NY, the New York Housing Conference, and other housing organizations issued a letter calling for an immediate joint investment from the Governor and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for NYCHA’s most pressing capital repairs.

Congress Passes FY 2018 Omnibus Spending Bill with Historic HUD Funding

This week, lawmakers in the House and Senate passed a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill to fund the federal government through the end of September. LeadingAge NY is very pleased to report that the legislation provides some of the highest funding levels for Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs in years, a direct result of our members’ strong advocacy. Highlights include:

  • $105 million for new Section 202 Construction and Project-Based Rental Assistance;
  • An expansion of HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) to include Section 202 Housing for the Elderly communities with Project Rental Assistance Contracts (“RAD for PRAC”), a top priority for LeadingAge that will give senior housing providers a new way to use private financing to preserve their communities;
  • Sufficient funding for Project-Based Rental Assistance renewals, funding for new Section 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities construction, and increases for the Housing Choice Voucher, public housing, homeless assistance, HOME, and healthy housing programs; and
  • A four-year, 12.5 percent increase to states’ Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) allocations to counter losses faced after the federal tax bill cut corporate income tax rates by 14 percent.

The bill now heads to President Trump’s desk and must be signed by midnight tonight to avoid another government shutdown. As of early this morning, however, it was unclear whether the President would sign it.

PEAK Hill Visits Canceled Due to Snowstorm

LeadingAge NY staff and members attended the 2018 PEAK Leadership Summit in Washington, DC this week, participating in a series of workshops and education sessions. Due to the historic snowstorm that blanketed parts of the East Coast in over a foot of snow, the Hill visits we had scheduled for Wednesday were unfortunately canceled. Advocates had planned to take part in over a dozen meetings with the New York congressional delegation on issues such as the two-year nurse aide training lockout; the need for FY 2019 funding for affordable, service-enriched housing; and the broad need for long-term services and supports (LTSS) financing.

Though we were not able to bring our message to lawmakers on Capitol Hill, we can still connect with them at home! LeadingAge NY encourages you to contact your representatives and let them know about the issues impacting your organization and the individuals you serve. Our state-specific federal issue brief as well as the Nursing Home, Senior Housing, and LTSS Financing briefs from LeadingAge National are valuable tools that will assist you in your efforts.

Actress Cynthia Nixon Announces Gubernatorial Bid

Lastly, actress and activist Cynthia Nixon announced on Monday that she will challenge Governor Cuomo in the Democratic gubernatorial primary on Thurs., Sept. 13th. In her two-minute announcement video, Nixon stated that “our leaders are letting us down,” and that “something needs to change” to get the government working again on “health care, ending mass incarceration, [and] fixing our broken subway.”

Contacts:

Ami Schnauber, aschnauber@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8854

Jeff Diamond, jdiamond@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8821