The House and Senate passed Senate Bill 109 unanimously at the end of the session. This bill, sponsored by Sen. Sarah McBride, seeks to improve the access, quality, and affordability of home hospice health care, which many Delawareans rely on during acute illness, in advanced age, or after discharge from a hospital setting. Specifically, the bill would establish a rate floor for Medicaid reimbursement to home health care nursing services – a step taken for private duty nurses 2017.
While home-health care is essential for many Delawareans, there is an increasing strain on the system for those who receive those services through Medicaid. Already stagnant reimbursement rates are frequently negotiated down further, which leads to low pay and high workloads for direct-care workers. Those problems are leading to a workforce shortage and high turnover, which in turn negatively impact the quality and availability of home health care.
SB 109 seeks to end that downward cycle by solidifying current and future reimbursement rates as an enforced minimum.
|Senate Bill 109 Sponsors||Yes Votes||No Votes|
|S.McBride, Bonini, Hansen, Sturgeon, Townsend, Walsh||Passed Senate 21-0. Brown, Ennis, Gay, Hansen, Lockman, Mantzavinos, Paradee, Pinkney, Poore, S.McBride, Sokola, Sturgeon, Townsend, Walsh, Bonini, Hocker, Lawson, Lopez, Pettyjohn, Richardson, Wilson||None|
|Heffernan, Bentz, Baumbach, Dorsey Walker, Lambert, Morrison, M.Smith, K.Williams||Passed House 40-0-1. Baumbach Bennett Bentz Bolden Brady Bush Carson Chukwuocha Cooke Dorsey-Walker Griffith Heffernan K.Johnson K.Williams Kowalko Lambert Longhurst Lynn Matthews Minor-Brown Mitchell Morrison Osienski S.Moore Schwartzkopf Wilson-Anton Briggs King Collins D.Short Gray Hensley M.Smith Morris Postles Ramone Shupe Smyk Spiegelman Vanderwende Yearick||Dukes (absent)|
|Current Status —||Sent to the Governor|
“Personal care workers are on the frontlines of care and they deserve to know that we value their lifesaving work,” Sen. McBride said. “It is time to bolster our care infrastructure by ensuring that there is integrity to our Medicaid reimbursement rates for these critical services. Plus, the benefits of SB 109 flow in two directions: not only can this legislation result in better, more available care at home for Delawareans, it can finally help raise wages for some of our most egregiously underpaid direct care workers, all of whom have done heroic work over the past year.”
“Home health care workers are highly skilled professionals who provide medical care and personal support that allows our vulnerable loved ones to enjoy a higher quality of life,” said Rep. Deb Heffernan. “Unfortunately, these devoted caregivers are often subjected to unsafe working conditions while receiving poverty-level wages. This legislation will ensure that these vital members of the medical community will be compensated at a fair rate that reflects the important and lifesaving work they perform.”