NY Community Healthcare Groups Call for Dedicated % of State Transformation Funds

NYAPRS Note: A coalition representing behavioral health, physical health, foster care and developmental disability service providers call for legislative approval of a measure that would require the state to dedicate 25% of any accrued healthcare transformation funds into our sector. Currently the funds have gone primarily to hospitals and nursing homes. Great thanks to the NYS Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare for organizing the campaign and event!

 

Community Care Associations Seek Funds From Health Care Investment Account

Crain’s Health Pulse  June 19, 2019

 

A group of 21 community health care associations gathered at the state Capitol Tuesday afternoon to urge lawmakers to set aside funds from the state's Healthcare Transformation Fund for community-based providers.

Specifically, they urged the passage of legislation currently in committee in the Assembly and state Senate that calls for at least 25% of the money deposited in the fund—created as part of the state's fiscal 2019 budget—to be allocated for such a purpose.

In a letter delivered to state lawmakers Tuesday, Lauri Cole, executive director of the New York State Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, noted on behalf of the associations that $675 million from the fund was made available earlier this year to provide a Medicaid rate increase for hospitals and nursing homes across the state.

"We recognize the needs of our colleagues who work in hospitals and nursing homes, and we do not begrudge them these increases," she wrote. "However, without a stable community-based system of care, New York state will not be able to achieve its policy objectives to include decreased readmission rates, diversion from emergency rooms and other acute-care services to less costly alternatives, and ensure access to care is available to all New Yorkers when they need it."

The associations further said that community-based providers in the state have been deprived of funding for more than two decades. The first phase of the Statewide Healthcare Facility Transformation in 2017 allocated only 6.5% of the $475.9 million available to community-based providers. And transformation funding through the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment and other programs from 2015 to 2020 allocated a mere 0.7% of the more than $8 billion available to community-based providers, they added.

"Community-based providers are operating on a wafer-thin financial base at the same time that they are depended upon to decrease hospital readmission rates, divert nonacute patients from the ER and increase access to care for children and adults in communities reeling from the impact of two simultaneous public health crises: the opioid epidemic and rising suicide rates," Cole said in a statement. —J.H.

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Advocates Look To Move Bill Concerning Health Care Transformation Dollars

Shannon Young, Politico, June 18, 2019

Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) joined advocates representing nearly two dozen community health care organizations today in urging the Legislature to pass bills, NY A7977 (19R)) / (NY S6376 (19R), requiring Health Care Transformation Fund dollars to be allocated to community-based care providers.

Gottfried, who chairs the Assembly Health Committee, said that although the legislation has yet to see much action — with just one day left in the session — it could move because it does not seek any new revenue.

The bill would require that at least 25 percent of the funds deposited into the health care transformation fund be allocated for certain community-based health care providers on an annual basis.

Gottfried acknowledged that HCTF dollars could be allocated without the legislation, but said "in reality, that virtually never happens without legislative direction."

The HCTF, enacted as part of the fiscal year 2018-2019 budget, requires funds to be used to support care delivery, including capital investment, debt retirement or restructuring, housing and other social determinants of health, advocates noted.