News Progress seen on rate adjustments

The Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS), in accordance with its responsibilities under Chapter 257 of the Acts of 2008, has begun releasing final reimbursement rates for certain services due for a rate review in 2019. These rates, effective July 1, include increases in funding which are targeted for investments in direct care and clinical staff. A list of impacted rates is included below.

The Association for Behavioral Healthcare (ABH), the Association of Developmental Disabilities Providers (ADDP), the Providers’ Council and the Children’s League of Massachusetts (CLM) have been working closely since the beginning of the year with EOHHS Secretary Marylou Sudders and members of her senior leadership team to devise strategies to help human service organizations confront the growing workforce crisis in our industry. These meetings were inspired, in part, by the commitment made by Gov. Charlie Baker at the Providers’ Council convention last September to address workforce shortages in the human services industry.

The projected rate increases are a direct result of these discussions.  Additionally, EOHHS has committed to implementing similar investments in rates for other services scheduled for review later in state Fiscal Year 2020 and Fiscal Year 2021.

The organizations have been meeting productively with EOHHS on a weekly basis since January to begin addressing the human services workforce issues.  Early on, an agreement was reached on the following basic principles to guide the discussions and work:

  • Any solution to the workforce crisis involving new funding for provider rates must be established within the parameters of Chapter 257;
  • The Commonwealth will use salary benchmarks other than the UFR to develop rates;
  • When establishing provider reimbursement rates, priority should be given to identifying critical salary positions that have high vacancy rates (e.g. Direct Care and Clinical positions); and
  • The Commonwealth and provider community should explore standardizing various factors (such as taxes and fringe) across all Chapter 257 rates.

The new investments for rates effective on July 1 – noted in the rates as a “Workforce Initiatives” add-on of 2.9 percent – are a significant initial step forward in trying to address the crisis our members face in workforce recruitment and retention.

Final Adoptions that include add-on:

101 CMR 346.00: Rates for Certain Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders Programs
101 CMR 413.00: Payments for Youth Intermediate-Term Stabilization Services
101 CMR 415.00: Rates for Community-Based Day Support Services
101 CMR 419.00: Rates for Supported Employment Services
101 CMR 421.00: Rates for Adult Housing and Community Support Services
101 CMR 428.00: Rates for Certain Independent Living Communities and Services
101 CMR 429.00: Rates for Certain Sexual and Domestic Violence Services
101 CMR 430.00: Rates for Program of Assertive Community Treatment Services
101 CMR 431.00: Rates for Certain Respite Services
101 CMR 432.00: Rates for Certain Lead Agency Services

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