presented by NHPCO
Tues, Apr 25, 2pm
Thurs, Apr 27, 1pm
Montpelier, VT
presented by Brattleboro Area Hospice
Thurs, Apr 27, 2pm
Bellows Falls, VT 
Thurs, Apr 27, 5:30pm
Brattleboro, VT  
brought to you by VNAs of Vermont
Thurs, May 4, 11:30am
brought to you by VNAs of Vermont
Thurs, May 4, 12pm
Webinar Series 
Laughter is the Best Medicine!
presented by Franklin County Home Health Agency 
Sat, May 6, 7pm
Enosburg Falls, VT 
presented by NHPCO
Thurs, May 11, 2pm
Sat, May 13, 5:30pm
Brattleboro, VT 
In Our Own Voice (a National Alliance on Mental Illness program)
presented by Bennington Area VNA & Hospice  
Thurs, May 18, 2:30pm
Bennington, VT
Mon, May 22, 8am
Lake Morey, VT 
I recently had the opportunity to participate in a fundraiser hosted by a member - a fashion show complete with catwalk and photographer. While their events are always fun, VNAs take fundraising seriously-it's the support of their communities that keeps many VNAs operating in the black. The overwhelming majority of people served by VNAs are covered by Medicare or Medicaid. Over the last decade, federal budgets have cut Medicare reimbursement and Medicaid reimbursement has lagged well behind inflation. There isn't any easy way for VNAs to absorb those losses-the vast majority of their expenses are directly related to patient care: clinicians, caregivers and the miles of Vermont roads they drive every day to see people in their homes.
Given that backdrop, the VNAs of Vermont are deeply appreciative that in a tough budget year, the Senate Committee on Appropriations has included a 2 percent increase for home health agencies in the budget that heads to the Senate floor this week. The increase covers home health and hospice services, Choices for Care and the other Medicaid programs served by VNAs. Because the House also included an increase for home health agencies, this bodes well for the final budget outcome next week, when budget writers from both bodies convene in conference committee to hammer out a final agreement. For the budget to become law, of course, the governor must agree with the overall package.
Jill Mazza Olson, Executive Director

With only about two weeks to go in the legislative session, the policy bills of interest to the VNAs of Vermont are entering the final stages of negotiation. In the coming weeks, look for a final legislative report detailing each bill. Of particular interest to the VNAs of Vermont is H.386, a revision to the home health provider tax formula supported by the VNAs of Vermont. Last week, the VNAs of Vermont, the Department of Vermont Health Access and other stakeholders mutually agreed to technical amendments to the House version of the bill. The Senate Committee on Finance adopted these changes on Friday afternoon and appended them to their version of the must-pass miscellaneous tax bill to ensure that the language becomes law this year.

The VNAs of Vermont expect that a House version of the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act will soon be introduced in Congress. Back in early March, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), chair of the Senate Aging Committee, and Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act ( S. 445 that would allow physician assistants (PAs), nurse practitioners (NPs), clinical nurse specialists, and certified nurse midwives to order home health services for Medicare beneficiaries, a key priority for the home care community. 

Our partners at the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) describe it this way, "Currently, Medicare recognizes PAs, NPs, clinical nurse specialists, and certified nurse midwives as authorized providers who are able to perform many services for Medicare beneficiaries, including ordering nursing home care and prescribing medicine. They are not, however, able to order less costly and less intrusive home health care services."

Because of this requirement, individuals who use non-physicians as their primary care providers often need extra office visits with physicians they don't normally see in order to get the home health care they need. This is a burdensome and unnecessary step that can delay care or result in patients being placed in more expensive health care settings. This legislation will relieve that burden for our most vulnerable citizens.

VNAs of Vermont | 802-229-0579 | [email protected] |