Every year, Hearts for Home Care advocates work diligently to show their legislators how important home care is to them:
- Why continued access for vulnerable and medically-fragile individuals in their communities should be a top priority to them.
- Why professional in-home caregivers must be paid a fair wage for the incredible and life-saving work they do.
- Why steady, sustainable funding formulas for home care will mean fewer hospitalizations, ER visits, and institutionalizations—and cost-savings for states.
These issues may be top priority for us – but for legislators who represent many different districts, populations, and have many competing priorities – home care may not be top-of-mind. That’s why our advocacy work is so important: We must continue to cultivate relationships with lawmakers, educate the public about home care, and build support for caregivers and clients that deliver and rely on this care.
States that prioritized home care this year:
- MO: Legislators in Missouri approved a 6.9% increase to private duty nursing home care services. This means that home care providers in the state will be better able to recruit and retain more skilled nurses into home care, and that children and adults living with medical complexities in MO will be better able to access the skilled nursing services they need to stay safe and healthy at home.
- DE: Recently, DE Governor John Carney signed Delaware’s 2024 budget into law. Hearts for Home Care thanks the governor, state legislature, and particularly members of the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) for including an $8 million investment in MLTSS personal care services. Delaware is one of the country’s most rapidly aging states, and this meaningful investment translates to better access to professional caregiving services for the many adults with disabilities and seniors in the state that prefer to live at home – both now and in the future.
- NJ: The New Jersey legislature has again proven its commitment to the many Garden State residents that rely on home care services. For the past several years, NJ has voted to incrementally increase its funding for its personal care assistance (PCA) and private duty nursing (PDN) programs. Often, states’ home care funding formulas fall behind because the state does not commit to regular upkeep and maintenance of the formula. Rather than addressing funding once every few years, New Jersey’s increases take into account the economic pressures, labor market, and rising state minimum wage mandate. This allows for home care providers in the State to keep up with economic realities and adjust wages and other factors regularly.
- SC: The South Carolina legislature recently increased funding for home health aide and skilled nursing programs! The legislature, which had temporarily increased funding for these programs during the height of the COVID pandemic—voted to make these temporary increases permanent, while simultaneously increasing funding for these important services. This represents a monumental win in SC, where advocates committed to educating lawmakers on the difficulties that seniors and residents with disabilities have been facing in accessing the personal care services they need. Thank you to the state legislature and to Governor McMaster for recognizing the benefits of home care for vulnerable residents and their families, and understanding the need for better funding, wages, and access to SC caregivers and families.
Progress still remains in some areas of the country…
Hearts for Home Care and the home care community at-large is grateful for the commitment and investment that these states have shown. While most state budgets are due at the end of June, Hearts for Home Care advocates continue to advocate for fair funding in North Carolina, where state budget negotiations are still ongoing. Recently, Charlotte-area advocates shared their voices widely on WSOC-TV in Charlotte and in the Independent Tribune to reach the public and legislators about the importance of a sustainable and fair funding formula for home care.
Additionally, the federal government is considering cutting home health care funding at the national level via two proposed rules that would impact both Medicaid and Medicare services. For more details on the proposals, please see our previous blog post, “Advocacy Alert! Two federal proposals would limit individuals’ access to home health care services.”