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State cuts rates for AFC; budget language would reverse move

Despite strong advocacy in March from a number of organizations – including the Providers’ Council, Adult Foster Care providers and other advocates – the state has opted to cut the rates for AFC services (101 CMR 351.00), effective May 5.

The final AFC rates, published by the state on Friday, April 21, include a 6 percent cut for AFC Level I and AFC Level I Alternative Caregiver Day services; and a 3.7 percent rate reduction for AFC Level II and AFC Level II Alternative Caregiver Day services. This change in rates will cut about $2 million from already existing contracts for the remaining months of the fiscal year. These cuts will now reduce rates below pre-2007 levels, eliminating more than a decade of progress.

Whether these cuts will extend to next fiscal year is less clear. The House Ways & Means Committee has included language in its budget proposal to restore the rates to previous levels. If the Senate agrees and the Governor signs that language into law in the FY ’18 budget process, the rate cut would in essence only be effective from May 5 through June 30. Pending a completed budget by July 1, 2017, the former rates would be restored on that date.

Members who are affected by these rates are encouraged to reach out to their legislators to advocate for the budget language that will restore AFC rates to their current levels.

In the interim, the Providers’ Council will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates as they become available. If you questions about the AFC rates or the budget process, please email Bill Yelenak.