And within a couple of days, we have legislative HHS budget proposals.

Of course, they couldn’t be more different in their approaches to the budget and older adult services.

The House has released its HHS Omnibus bill, HF2614, which has already moved through every necessary committee but one since Monday. We are thrilled that nursing homes, Elderly Waiver, Alternative Care, and other LTC grants and providers are held harmless in the House bill.

Although the Senate has not released a complete omnibus bill, Sen. Berglin has proposed amendments to a vehicle bill, SF2337.  Two amendments impact providers of older adult services.  One amendment increases the surcharge on nursing homes in lieu of cutting Medical Assistance rates.  The second amendment includes onerous regulations for Housing-with-Services providers and a 5% cut to Elderly Waiver CL and 24 hour CL.

Both bodies are moving quickly on their respective omnibus bills.  The House bill has only one committee left before the floor.  Meanwhile, the Senate HHS finance division is planning to pass their bill out of committee on Monday.  This sets us up for conference committee possibly by the end of next week.

You can see there are very different approaches to our areas of interest.  In addition, the House and Senate differ in how they address hospitals and paying for health care coverage for poor Minnesotans.  Toss in magic federal money that the state hopes to see by the end of May, and you have the makings of quite a conference committee!

Legislators have a long weekend ahead as they break for the Republican state convention.  They will get back to work on Monday.