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Legislative Bulletin: May Brings More Priority Bill Introductions

May Brings More Priority Bill Introductions

This week, April showers brought May flowers as well as important developments on LeadingAge NY’s priority legislation. We are very pleased to report that two of our bills under consideration in the Assembly and Senate have had their companions introduced:

  • Hospice in the ALP: Senate Health Committee Chair Kemp Hannon on Wednesday introduced legislation to allow terminally ill Assisted Living Program (ALP) residents to access hospice services without having to transfer from the ALP, as is required under current Medicaid regulations and payment policy. The bill’s Assembly companion, A.10459 (Lupardo), was introduced last week and referred to the Health Committee. To send your lawmakers a pre-written letter, tweet, or Facebook post urging them to co-sponsor this legislation, please click here. LeadingAge NY’s memo of support can also be accessed here. There are currently no Senate co-sponsors. In the Assembly, there are two co-sponsors (Arroyo and Hyndman) and eight multi-sponsors (Abbate, Barron, Dickens, Jones, Magee, McDonald, Rivera, and Taylor).
  • CCRC Cybersecurity Regulations Exemption: On Monday, Assembly Insurance Committee Chair Kevin Cahill introduced a bill that would exempt the state’s 12 operating continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) from the cybersecurity regulations adopted by the Department of Financial Services (DFS) in March 2017. These regulations require most banks, insurers, and other financial institutions within DFS’s regulatory jurisdiction to protect their customer information from cyberattacks. LeadingAge NY has pushed back strongly against DFS’s recent interpretation that CCRCs are considered “Covered Entities,” arguing that the requirements would pose an undue burden on CCRCs and could lead to large increases in resident fees. The bill’s Senate companion, S.7940-A (Seward), was introduced in March and is currently in the Insurance Committee. Please call your legislators today and encourage them to sign on! There is currently one Assembly co-sponsor (Lupardo) and one Senate co-sponsor (Akshar).

SSI Increase Legislation Advances in Senate

On Monday, A.9963 (Brindisi)/S.7743 (Serino), a bill that would, beginning April 1, 2018, increase the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) reimbursement rate for adult care facilities (ACFs) by $20 per day per resident over five years, advanced from the Senate Social Services to the Senate Finance Committee. LeadingAge NY continues to strongly support this legislation. With the average cost per day to provide ACF services now double the daily reimbursement rate, it has become very difficult for ACFs to care for Medicaid-eligible seniors. If facilities close or can no longer afford to serve this population, more of those individuals will be placed in nursing homes at a higher cost to the State.

Click here to access LeadingAge NY’s memo of support and here to contact your lawmakers, urging them to co-sponsor this important bill. There are currently four Senate co-sponsors: Hannon, Helming, Savino, and Valesky. In the Assembly, where the bill has not moved out of the Social Services Committee, there are 19 co-sponsors (Arroyo, Aubry, Bronson, Colton, D'Urso, Glick, Gunther, Jaffee, Joyner, Lupardo, Magnarelli, McDonald, Niou, Pichardo, Rozic, Seawright, Skoufis, Taylor, and Woerner) and three multi-sponsors (Magee, Simon, and Thiele).

Keep Up the Pressure on Lawmakers on Other Agenda Items

While the legislation listed below did not advance in either house this week, LeadingAge NY encourages members to continue the pressure on lawmakers as session begins to wind down. As you will see, these bills currently have very few co-sponsors and will not move forward without more support.

  1. CCRC Revitalization Act (The bill has three Assembly co-sponsors: Gottfried, Lupardo, and Morelle. There are no Senate co-sponsors.)
  2. Role of the Nurse in ACFs (In the Assembly, there are five co-sponsors (Dinowitz, D’Urso, Galef, Lupardo, and McDonald) and one multi-sponsor (Lifton). There are no Senate co-sponsors.)
  3. Affordable Independent Senior Housing Assistance Program (In the Assembly, there are five co-sponsors (Barron, Colton, Jaffee, Rozic, and Taylor) and one multi-sponsor (McDonough). There is one Senate co-sponsor: Funke.)

LeadingAge NY is also continuing to monitor developments around the “Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act,” a troubling bill that would create specific staffing ratios for nurses and other direct care staff in hospitals and nursing homes at a cost of approximately $1.06 billion to nursing homes statewide. As we have long argued, there is no available research to suggest that specific staffing ratios result in improved quality of care or quality of life. In fact, the only outcome of this legislation would be higher operating costs and less quality of life programming for nursing home residents.

With the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) now stepping up its advocacy in support of the bill, lawmakers need to hear from you as soon as possible. Please contact your legislators and urge them to oppose this irresponsible mandate on nursing homes. If they have already signed on as a co-sponsor, be sure to educate and encourage them to remove their names. LeadingAge NY’s cost template, developed to assist you in determining the potential financial impact of this legislation on your facility, is available here and will be a useful tool in your efforts. In the Assembly, there are 65 co-sponsors (Abinanti, Arroyo, Aubry, Barron, Benedetto, Bichotte, Blake, Brabenec, Brindisi, Bronson, Byrne, Carroll, Castorina, Colton, Davila, De La Rosa, Dilan, Dinowitz, D'Urso, Errigo, Gottfried, Hevesi, Hunter, Hyndman, Jaffee, Jean-Pierre, Jones, Joyner, Kim, Lavine, Lentol, Magnarelli, B. Miller, M.G. Miller, M.L. Miller, Montesano, Mosley, Murray, Niou, O'Donnell, Ortiz, Otis, Pellegrino, Peoples-Stokes, Pheffer Amato, Pichardo, Richardson, Rivera, L. Rosenthal, Rozic, Ryan, Santabarbara, Seawright, Skoufis, Steck, Taylor, Titus, Vanel, Walker, Wallace, Weprin, Williams, Woerner, Wright, and Zebrowski) and 34 multi-sponsors (Abbate, Barnwell, Buchwald, Butler, Cahill, Cook, Crespo, Cusick, Cymbrowitz, DenDekker, Englebright, Fahy, Galef, Glick, Hooper, Jenne, Johns, Lifton, Lupardo, Magee, McDonough, Nolan, Paulin, Perry, Pretlow, Ra, Ramos, D. Rosenthal, Simon, Simotas, Solages, Thiele, Titone, and Walsh). There are 30 Senate co-sponsors: Addabbo, Alcantara, Avella, Bailey, Bonacic, Boyle, Breslin, Brooks, Carlucci, Comrie, Dilan, Gianaris, Hamilton, Hoylman, Kaminsky, Kavanagh, Kennedy, Krueger, Lanza, Larkin, Montgomery, Murphy, Parker, Peralta, Persaud, Robach, Sanders, Serino, Serrano, and Stavisky.

Federal Advocacy Alert: Continue Engaging Congress on Key Initiatives

Amid the flurry of legislative activity on the state level, don’t forget to keep up your federal advocacy! LeadingAge NY and LeadingAge National are currently monitoring several items under consideration in Congress and ask that you contact your representatives to urge their support:

  • Medicare “Observation Days”: Ask lawmakers to support H.R. 1421/S. 568, legislation that would require all of the time a Medicare beneficiary spends in a hospital to count toward the three-day stay requirement for Medicare coverage of post-acute care.
  • Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Training Lockout: Urge lawmakers to pass legislation to make a nursing home’s loss of CNA training discretionary rather than mandatory and allow training authority to be restored once the facility has corrected its care deficiencies.
  • Medicare Long-Term Care Services and Supports Act: Ask lawmakers to support the Medicare Long-Term Care Services and Supports Act, proposed draft legislation from Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) that would establish a Medicare benefit covering nursing home care, adult day services, personal care, and other long-term services and supports. For more information on this proposal, please click here.
  • FY 2019 Senior Housing and Services Funding: Ask lawmakers to build on funding levels provided for this fiscal year and to prevent rent increases or budget cuts.
  • Workforce Legislation: Urge lawmakers to support H.R. 3461, which would provide for demonstration projects on the use of direct care workers in advanced roles; H.R. 3778, which would provide for demonstration projects on recruitment and retention of direct care workers; and H.R. 3351, which would provide up to 8,000 work-related immigration visas for nurses.

LeadingAge National Offers Guidance on Nonprofit Lobbying and Election Activity

With preparations for the November elections well underway, LeadingAge National this week published a set of guidelines for nonprofit aging services providers to follow to stay in compliance with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules for allowable politically-related activity. The publication, Lobbying and Election Activity: Guiding Principles for Nonprofit Providers, addresses questions about employees of nonprofit organizations contributing to political campaigns or participating in candidate fundraising, the kind of help employees can give residents with learning about candidates who are running for office or getting to the polls to vote, whether an organization can hold candidate forums, and what to do when a lawmaker who is running for re-election wants to visit your community to speak with your residents.

Further guidance from LeadingAge National that addresses what to do with resident activities and issue advocacy will be available soon.

Two More Republican Senators Bow Out of Re-Election

Lastly, the number of Senate Republicans forgoing re-election bids in November grew to five this week with announcements from Senators Tom Croci and Bill Larkin. Senator Croci, first elected in 2014, will be returning to active duty in the Navy, while Senator Larkin will be retiring after a four-decade career in Albany.

Contacts:

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

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