Adult Family Care 9C cuts and proposed regulation changes
This communication is to inform everyone that 9C emergency cuts to the Adult Family Care (AFC) program were announced by Governor Baker in early December, 2016. The Governor has the authority through Section 9C, Chapter 29 of the MGL to make budget reductions when there is an anticipated shortfall in revenue to fund the budget for the FY. The administration anticipated a $98 million shortfall in the FY17 budget when announcing the reductions that month. The changes in AFC combine a funding cut effective March 1 which is being coupled with proposed regulatory changes to be promulgated effective March 1 as well. It is anticipated these regulatory changes may impact home visit requirements to give programs more flexibility. We will know more once the proposed regulations are released. As far as we know, the caregiver stipend will not change. We are anticipating an administrative bulletin from MassHealth to detail some of the changes.
Advocacy with the legislative leadership in the House and Senate has been underway for the last several weeks by a coalition of organizations who serve consumers and families who use AFC including Mass Home Care (MHC), the MA AFC Council, and The ARC of MA. Efforts will be underway to insert language into a planned supplemental budget which may move forward in the next month or so and advocate with our legislators. There will also be advocacy days at the State House (MHC on Feb 27 and AFC Awareness Day, March 8).
The legislature can overturn or modify 9C cuts. Work with EOHHS is underway as well. (EOEA line items were unaffected by the 9C cuts with the exception of Prescription Advantage and the COA line item totaling just over $1 million).
What you can do:
Contact your legislators to urge them to restore 9C cuts to AFC and maintain AFC staffing, rates, and eligibility as it was on July 1, 2016. (A supplemental budget may be taken up during the next several weeks by the legislature, and we will let you know if more targeted advocacy campaigns are organized at that time). A sample letter with talking points is available for download here (Word or PDF) as well as a Fact Sheet (Word or PDF) and contact information for the legislators is available here. It's always helpful to include a personalized message if you have one.
The basic advocacy message to convey by phone, email or letter is:
Please include language in a supplemental budget to reverse the 9C cuts to Adult Family Care and maintain program integrity through maintaining current staffing, eligibility and rates.