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Advocacy Update March 26, 2018
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MARYLAND ADVOCACY UPDATE
March 26, 2018




LeadingAge Maryland

 

Join Us for Regular Legislative Update Calls During the 2018 Session

Friday mornings at 11:00AM. Dial 310-372-7549, pass code 505134

Remaining calls:

March 30, 2018

April 13, 2018

 

Legislative Reception in Annapolis

Despite some last minute schedule changes for the Maryland House Health and Government Operations Committee, we had a great event in Annapolis last evening, March 22. LeadingAge Maryland members spent several hours with seven of ten Senators from the Finance Committee, including Chair, Mac Middleton (speaking above). Nearly half the Delegates from the Health and Government Operations Committee stopped by on their way to their other event. Thanks to everyone who enjoyed this opportunity to deepen relationships.

 

Hill Visits to be Rescheduled

The snowstorm on Wednesday shut down the federal government and cancelled the scheduled visits to Capitol Hill. We’ll work with LeadingAge staff to schedule a Maryland day for visits to Capitol Hill when the weather is more predictable.

Maryland Quick Legislative Update

During the 2018 Maryland legislative session, more than 3,000 bills were filed. Monday, March 19 was the date by which bills from one chamber needed action by that chamber to crossover to the other chamber.

 

A number of bills of interest to LeadingAge Maryland members have been defeated or failed to cross over

  • SB425/HB344- Continuing Care Agreements - Termination - Notice and Contractual Entrance Fee Refunds no action taken 
  • HB 375 – CCRC – Continuing Care Agreements- Actuarial Studies Type C – withdrawn by sponsor
  • HB 687 – Senior Apartment Housing Facilities – Baltimore City – Security Guard Services – no action taken
  • HB 851, Medicaid and the Maryland Children's Health Program - Home and Community-Based Providers – Funding – no action taken
  • Long-Term Care Insurance bills – HB 945, HB 946, HB 983, SB 75, SB 206 – no action taken
  • SB 16- Healthcare Facilities – Nursing Homes – Limit on Residents per Multiple Occupancy Bedroom
  • SB 409 – Task Force to Study the Residential Environment of Seniors I Baltimore City  HB 681- Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities – Sex Offenders
  • SB694- Assisted Living Education on Influenza

 

Other bills of interest did move from one chamber to another:

And there are several other bills we are continuing to track:

  • SB232/HB407 – Public Health – General Hospice Care Programs – Collection and Disposal of Unused Prescription Medication
  • HB1064/SB937 Maryland Medical Assistance Program – Home and Community Based Waiver Services – Prohibition of Denial
  • HB1194 – Drug Cost Commission
  • And several additional employer and provider-related bills

 

Budget

Versions of the $44+ billion budget have been passed by the House and the Senate and now will be reconciled. The budget has no new taxes, does not cut services or raid special funds. The budget leaves nearly $1 billion in reserves and continues to fully fund K-12 education. The budget includes more than $11.5 billion for Maryland’s Medicaid program and it appears that both the House and the Senate agreed to “fence off’ a total of 3% increase to Medicaid rates for nursing homes.

 

Employer-related

HB 98/SB 135, Speaker & Senate President (Governor’s Paid Sick Leave), Paid Leave Compromise Act of 2018

The General Assembly has overridden the Governor’s veto on the legislature’s paid sick leave for 15 employees. The Governor’s bill would require businesses with at least 25 employees to offer paid sick leave, phasing in the rule over three years by applying it to companies of different sizes during that span. Businesses could also get a waiver if they prove that providing sick leave would cause a significant financial hardship. The Governor said he will propose legislation to create tax credits for businesses with fewer than 50 employees that provide paid leave benefits (HB 99/SB 134). A bill to postpone implementation in order to wait for Department of Labor guidance passed the Senate, but not the House so this legislation is now in effect. Whiteford Taylor Preston will speak to the specific implications of the paid sick and safe leave provisions to LeadingAge Maryland members at the legal update session at the LeadingAge Maryland Annual Conference April 17-18, 2018.

 

Quick Updates on the Federal Spending Plan

The Senate and the House of Representatives have passed a $1.3 trillion, 2,232-page fiscal year 2018 spending bill. It is on the President’s desk awaiting signature. At first look, there are several provision of special interest:

  • A $414 million increase in funding for Alzaheimer’s and dementia research at the National Institutes for Health, putting total funding for research there at $1.8 billion
  • $4.5 million for health promotion dedicated to Alzheimer’s disease
  • $2 million for initiatives to prevent falls among older adults
  • Some of the highest funding levels for housing programs in several years including
    • $678 million to Section 202 Housing for the Elderly Program – enough to renew all existing contracts and provide $105 million for additional new homes
    • RAD for PRAC provisions that gives housing properties with rental assistance contracts access to HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration Program
    • Low income home energy assistance, social services block grants and other programs on which older people rely for home and community based services also received increased funding
    • 12.5% increase in Low Income Housing Tax Credits for four years and permanent authorization of income averaging

 

 

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