The Legislature has left the building (again)!
Yesterday the legislature met to take up legislation vetoed by the Governor, including the state budget. Both the House and Senate voted to override the Governor’s veto of the budget, and numerous other bills.
The final adjournment of the Legislature means that the home health provider tax will officially sunset on July 1! Please join us in thanking the Scott Administration and the legislature for supporting the elimination of the provider tax burden, giving much-needed relief to the home health and hospice agencies working hard to care for our family, friends, and neighbors.
Additionally, the appropriations made to increase direct Choices for Care services (15%) and to annualize the Budget Adjustment Act’s increase to home health agency reimbursement rates (90% of Low Utilization Payment Adjustment) are final. These increases are an important step towards bringing reimbursement rates closer to the actual costs of care.
The legislature also voted to override the Governor’s veto of H.217, the Child Care Payroll Tax, which will substantially increase the state’s childcare subsidy program, funded by a 0.44 percent payroll tax (75% employer obligation), and overrode the Governor’s veto of an Office of Professional regulation bill (H.305), which imposes licensing application and renewal fee increases for many regulated professions, including nursing, occupational therapy and physical therapy. The increases for these three professionals are generally between $5 and $30.
H.171, which is a substantial re-write of the adult protective services statute, was passed during the veto session. The final version includes the amendments to the initial bill passed by the Senate before adjournment. Legislators also used this bill as a vehicle to extend the motel voucher program for unhoused individuals until April 1, 2024. The Governor has indicated that, barring any unforeseen circumstances, he plans to sign the bill into law.
This was a big year for home health and hospice. We were successful advocating for the provider tax sunset and needed rate increases, while working with legislators and partners to ensure that no problematic legislation moved forward that would create challenges for home health and hospice agencies working to care for our Vermont communities.
VNAs of Vermont would like to extend our gratitude to Governor Scott, Scott Administration staff, lawmakers, our partner organizations, and home health care supporters, for the collective work that made these outcomes possible.