Late-April 2018 Newsletter
Executive Director's Message
With the dreary weather last week, it was easy to imagine that there is still a long way to go in the 2018 legislative session and yet, we are in the final weeks. The annual charity "adjournment pool" is open and Statehouse regulars are making guesses about exactly when the session will come to a close, but it will almost certainly not go beyond mid-May.
At this writing, we are closely watching the budget in the Senate and the minimum wage bill in the House. We continue to advocate for the Senate to agree to the House-approved 2 percent Medicaid rate increase for all VNA services, including home health, hospice and long-term care. We also support the efforts of the House Appropriations Committee to grapple with the impact of a minimum wage increase on the state budget, including the Medicaid program. The VNAs of Vermont have worked hard to provide fact-based projections of the Medicaid rate increase necessary tto provide significant wage increases to our home health aides, personal care attendants and other non-clinical positions. Since our last report on the minimum wage issue, the Governor has signaled that he plans to veto the bill, and House Republicans have announced that they believe they will be able to block a veto override. Whether or not the minimum wage bill becomes law, we will build on the attention the issue has brought to the relationship between Medicaid rates and wages in Medicaid programs.  
A veto of the minimum wage bill is likely to be one of many. Among others, highly contentious bills include paid family leave, efficiency standards and an education finance proposal. The Governor has already vetoed S.103, a chemical regulation bill. This Wednesday's override vote on the bill in the House will demonstrate whether the Republican minority can uphold a Gubernatorial veto.

Jill Mazza Olson
Executive Director
Federal Update
This week we expect the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions to mark-up a sweeping opioid bill ( S. 2680 ). Included in the legislation is a provision that would allow hospice providers to dispose of opioids in a patient's home when they are no longer needed. 
Medicare Card Scam
As we reported earlier in the month CMS is removing Social Security Numbers from Medicare cards to prevent fraud, fight identity theft and keep taxpayer dollars safe. (See a photo of the card below.) The new Medicare cards will go out to beneficiaries between April 2018 and April 2019.  Learn how  the Centers are currently pacing the mailings.
We have been informed by CMS about a scam related to the rollout of the new Medicare cards.  Apparently, scammers have picked up on the rollout of the new Medicare cards and are calling Medicare beneficiaries and telling them that they need to provide personal information to the callers in order to receive the new cards.  Please alert any Medicare beneficiaries you may know of this scam. CMS will not call and ask for personal information.

What We're Reading

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society

Upcoming Events
 OneCare Provider Panel/Legislative Briefing ( Jill Olson will speak)
April, 23  | 5 to 7 p.m.
Vermont Statehouse Cafeteria
Hosted by OneCare
In-person event

May 1, 15, 29   | 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Hosted by VNAs of Vermont
May 9  | 1 to 2:30 p.m.
Hosted by VNAs of Vermont

Upcoming Conferences
J6/JK Home Health and Hospice Medicare Summit 2018:
Maintaining a Healthy Compliance Program
hosted by National Government Services
September 19 & 20 | The Orleans, Las Vegas, NV 
Save the Date! Registration opens in February.
VNAs of Vermont | | [email protected] | 802-229-0579