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Advocacy in Action

Posted By Jennifer Gill, Friday, May 26, 2017
Updated: Friday, May 26, 2017

May 26, 2017

General Assembly Update

  • The House budget was unveiled yesterday during House budget subcommittee meetings. Each subcommittee presented their respective spending items and allowed amendments from their members. The full appropriations committee will meet next Wednesday which is when we will see the meat of the bill. The full House plans to hold second and third readings on the entire budget next Thursday and Friday. We’re working on a summary of the House version and will email it to you next Tuesday.
  • The House pulled a number of policy items out of the Senate version. Short story: certificate of need repeal is out of the House budget, at least for now. The CON language in the Senate budget was stripped from the House version presented in the HHS subcommittee yesterday. The issue, as with a number of other policies contained in the Senate version, will now play out in the conference committee. The conferees will be appointed after the House budget is passed.
  • The 2 chambers agree on the total budget amount – but their priorities are different. The House agrees with the Senate on the total spend - $22.9 billion. That is lower than Governor Roy Cooper's spend of $23.5 billion. The difference between the chambers is in the way they spend it. We expect the conferees to have a lot of negotiating to do.
  • The Tax Reform package will be different. The House has voiced concern that the Senate Tax Reform proposal is unsustainable - relying on too much non-recurring dollars. The House version could be released later today. This will be another item for the conference committee to handle.
  • It’s important to keep in mind that the General Assembly has an incentive to go home. With the recent Supreme Court ruling on district mapping, legislators have to deal with redistricting – again. They have started the process in committee yesterday, but could come back for a special redistricting session later. There is a sense that they could go home before July 1.

New Annual Filing Requirement Continues Journey

Yesterday the North Carolina Senate Finance Committee approved a bill (S.114) that would create a new annual filing requirement for nonprofits that are incorporated in North Carolina. Main requirements of the bill include:

  1. Every North Carolina nonprofit would be required to file an annual report with the N.C. Secretary of State that includes its name, address, and email address, as well as the names, addresses (which can be the nonprofit's address), and titles of its officers, plus a brief description of its activities and whether it has members.
  2. All reports would be filed online.
  3. All reports would be due on November 15 of every year, beginning in 2019.
  4. Nonprofits would be administratively dissolved if they don't file reports within 60 days of the due date.
  5. Nonprofits that don't file reports would also lose the right to receive semiannual sales tax refunds.
  6. There would be no filing fee for nonprofits.

The bill now awaits further action from the full Senate.

President Trump Unveils Budget Blueprint

Copied below is an excellent blog post done earlier this week by Howard Bedlin, Vice-President for Public Policy and Advocacy for the National Council on Aging (NCOA), which highlights ten ways President Trump’s budget proposal for FY18 would impact programs for older adults. Congress will develop its own budget now and members from both parties have indicated that the cuts may be too deep. Please also note the link in the blog post for the table that lists the proposed funding for all aging services programs.

Straight Talk for Seniors®: 10 Ways the Administration’s Budget Would Impact Senior Programs
The White House released its first full budget proposal today, and it includes historic cuts—and even elimination—of programs that older adults and their families have relied on for more than 50 years. Congress has indicated that it will develop its own FY18 budget, so the Administration’s proposal is just that—an outline of its funding priorities. However, it does set up the debate for the coming fiscal year. Here are 10 ways the Administration’s budget—if enacted—would impact senior programs:

  1. Medicaid: Cut by $627 billion
    The budget cuts Medicaid by $627 billion over 10 years. This is on top of the $839 billion proposed cut in the House of Representatives’ American Health Care Act, which would repeal and replace parts of the Affordable Care Act. Taken together, this would mean almost $1.3 trillion in Medicaid cuts over 10 years, an estimated 45% reduction in 2026. Nearly 7 million low-income seniors rely on Medicaid for their health and long-term care.
  2. Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP): Eliminated
    The budget eliminates the nation’s only job training and placement program specifically for older adults. Last year under SCSEP, 70,000 older adults received on-the-job training while providing nearly 36 million hours of staff support to 30,000 organizations.
  3. Medicare State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP): Eliminated
    The budget eliminates this program that each year supports 15,000+ counselors who provide free, state-specific assistance to over 6 million beneficiaries.
  4. Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): Eliminated
    The budget eliminates this program that helps low-income individuals pay for their heating and cooling costs. About a third of the 6.8 million households receiving LIHEAP benefits include an older adult aged 60+.
  5. Block Grants (SSBG, CSBG, CDBG): Eliminated
    The budget eliminates the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG), Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). These programs provide states and localities with funding to improve economic security and independence for low-income families and seniors through services like home care, congregate and home-delivered meals, and transportation. SSBG is the only source of federal funding for Adult Protective Services. An estimated 4.4 million older adults receive services under SSBG and CSBG.
  6. Senior Corps & AmeriCorps: Eliminated
    The budget eliminates both of these national service programs that enlist older adults in volunteerism and serve seniors in communities nationwide. Last year, 245,000 Senior Corps volunteers provided 74.6 million hours of service.
  7. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Cut by $194 billion
    Federal SNAP funding would be cut by $194 billion over 10 years. The budget also shifts more funding responsibilities to the states and erodes polices that streamline access for seniors and people with disabilities. Almost 5 million seniors rely on SNAP benefits to afford food.
  8. CDC Falls Prevention: Eliminated
    The budget eliminates $2 million in falls prevention funding in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) budget. However, it retains $5 million in falls prevention funding in the Administration for Community Living budget. Every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall; every 11 seconds an older adult is treated in an emergency room for a fall-related injury.
  9. Chronic Disease Self-Management Education (CDSME): Cut by $3 million
    The budget cuts federal funding for community-based workshops for people with chronic conditions from $8 million to $5 million, or 37.5%. Over 90% of older adults have at least one chronic disease and two-thirds have two or more.
  10. Older Americans Act (OAA) and Elder Justice Act (EJA): Increases reversed
    The budget reverses the modest FY17 increases for Supportive Services, Senior Nutrition, Caregiver Support, Native American programs, and the Elder Justice Act.

Download our funding table for a complete list of aging services programs. What happens next? Congress takes the budget from here. The House will write its own version, which may include some of these proposals or scale them back. Members of both parties have indicated that the cuts the Administration is proposing may be too deep. The FY17 budget expires on Sept. 30, so the clock is ticking for Congress to adopt a new budget by then.

For LeadingAge national’s official statement on the President’s budget proposal, please click here.

Congressional Budget Office “Scores” New ACA Repeal Bill

In a report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, twenty-three million fewer Americans would have insurance under legislation that House Republicans narrowly passed last month. The report also predicted that the nation’s deficit would be $119 billion less over the next ten years and that premiums for people buying insurance on their own would generally be lower for younger consumers and higher for older and sicker people than premiums charged under the existing Affordable Care Act. And the House-passed legislation would cut $1.1 trillion from programs that help people get covered, including $834 billion in cuts to Medicaid over the next decade. The ball is now in the Senate’s court, where they will consider, modify or rewrite the legislation.

Sign On Now to a Letter Supporting Nursing Home Regulatory Reform

The present system of nursing home oversight is often burdensome and counterproductive to high quality nursing home care. This Action Alert from LeadingAge National supports effort to stop onerous regulations. Rep. Glenn Grothman from Wisconsin is asking his colleagues in the House of Representatives to join him in signing a letter to CMS supporting regulatory reform for nursing homes. Specifically, his letter asks CMS to suspend implementation and enforcement of Phases II and III of the final Requirements of Participation rule issued in September 2016. The letter also asks that CMS give nursing homes adequate time to prepare for whatever parts of the Rule are ultimately implemented. This issue is vitally important to all of our members and is a key priority for LeadingAge.

June 1 Deadline for SNF Quality Reporting Program Nears; Webinar just made available.

Skilled Nursing Facilities must have all their MDS forms for admissions/discharges between October 1 and December 31, 2016 completed and corrected by June 1, 2017 to comply with the SNF Quality Reporting Deadline or risk losing 2% of their Medicare fee-for-service rate starting October 1, 2017.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) held a training May 2 to help Skilled Nursing Facility providers understand the Review and Correct process for the SNF QRP related to making any corrections to the MDS information submitted between October 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016. CMS just made this recorded webinar available on the CMS YouTube channel at: Members who attended the webinar felt it was helpful in understanding where to find the necessary reports within the CASPER system.

CMS has also posted the corresponding Questions and Answers from that webinar: Reviewing these materials maybe helpful to members as they strive to meet the June 1 reporting deadline for making corrections.

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