Vermont House Passes Increase for Skilled Home Health in Budget Adjustment Act
On February 3, the Vermont House of Representatives passed the 2023 Budget Adjustment Act (BAA, H.145). If passed by the Senate and signed into law, the bill will increase skilled home health Medicaid rates to 90% of the Medicare fee-for-service fee schedule, effective back to January 1, 2023. This is an important step toward bringing Vermont Medicaid rates in line with federal Medicare.
The Budget Adjustment Act is a mid-year adjustment to the current State Fiscal Year budget that went into effect on July 1. The Department of Vermont Health Access (DVHA) transitioned skilled home health increases to a calendar year basis to align with Medicare payment updates. Unfortunately, this year DVHA limited January 1 rate updates to federally-mandated increases. As a result, the VNAs of Vermont requested funding in the BAA. The last skilled home health Medicaid increase went into effect more than a year ago.
As we’ve reported here before, untenable federal Medicare cuts, chronic Medicaid underfunding, and a workforce crisis are straining the agencies providing these vital services in many parts of the state.
Skilled home health care is critical for timely hospital discharges and helps Vermonters avoid costly hospital visits or stays. At a time when hospitals are struggling with capacity, these services are especially important.
While we know more help will be needed this legislative session to preserve access to home health services, we want to thank members of the Vermont House of Representatives for including this funding support in the BAA.
The BAA will now be taken up in the Vermont Senate, and VNAs of Vermont will be working to ensure support for these investments in the system of care that our Vermont families and neighbors depend on.