Janet McCarthy (Executive Director, Franklin County Home Health Agency) and Jill Mazza Olson (Executive Director, VNAs of Vermont) at FCCHA's Blue Jean Ball
On Saturday night, I attended the popular Blue Jean Ball fundraiser to benefit the Franklin County Home Health Agency. This year featured a Western theme and I was glad for the opportunity to bring out my bedazzled jeans and cowboy boots for the occasion. Vermont's home health agencies host some of the most popular events in their communities - from golf tournaments to fashion shows - and the communities served by our members come out in force to support their local VNAs. This support is critical to the mission of Vermont's not-for-profit VNAs to provide a broad range of home health and hospice services to everyone in their communities, regardless of ability to pay.
Fall is also the time of year when we turn our attention to the upcoming legislative session. Looking ahead into 2018, I expect Vermont will largely stay the course on health care reform, continuing the provider-led effort to shift the payment system to one that supports providers who work together to keep each Vermonter as healthy as they can be. Click here for a press release announcing the 2018 participating communities in Vermont's health care reform initiative led by OneCare Vermont. Changes in Washington, D.C. may have a significant impact on Vermont's budget process. At this writing, the Trump Administration has announced a plan to end subsidies for individuals purchasing health insurance; Congress has so far failed to reauthorize funding for the federal Children's Health Insurance program that funds Vermont's Medicaid program for children; and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has proposed a nearly $1 billion cut to home health agencies. Vermont has leveraged these programs and more to keep the rate of uninsured Vermonters low and the quality of care high. The Scott Administration, the Vermont Attorney General's Office and Vermont's Congressional delegation are each supporting various efforts to prevent these changes from coming to pass, but the outcomes remain uncertain.
We will be watching these developments closely in the coming weeks. We will also be watching the final deliberations of the various state legislative study committees that meet between sessions for their recommendations on issues that will impact health care providers like VNAs, including the minimum wage study committee. Our next issue will feature our 2018 state and federal advocacy agendas.
Jill Mazza Olson
The VNAs of Vermont has joined state and national home health associations across the country in strongly opposing the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed Home Health Groupings Model (HHGM). On behalf of the individuals we serve, we are calling on CMS to withdraw the proposal and preserve access to home health care. The new model will cut reimbursement for many home health patients and further compound a decade of federal rate cuts. We are grateful to Vermont's entire Congressional delegation for supporting our position on this issue.
In the News
Jeanne McLaughlin, President & CEO of VNH, to retire in 2018