Boston- State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) voted on Tuesday to phase in long overdue rate adjustments for human service providers who contract with the state to deliver health and social services to the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable citizens, from the elderly and chronically ill to the physically and mentally impaired.
The bill, passed unanimously by the Senate, requires the Division of Health Care and Policy to establish a predictable and adequate rate-setting schedule that will help providers mitigate operating costs and retain employees.
“The recommendations of this bill provide the pathway to a strong community-based service network and will ensure the retention of direct care providers who provide critical services to families throughout the Commonwealth,” said Downing. “The proposed rate adjustments will provide a fair salary to these human service workers, and they will go a long way to stabilize the system of community-based services offered throughout the Commonwealth.”
Massachusetts has a network of 1,100 community-based provider agencies, employing approximately 185,000 workers who deliver a wide-range of services to more than one million residents. State funding for the system has remained relatively stagnant during the last 20 years despite rapidly increasing operating costs and a growing population of people who need services.
The bill phases in the rate adjustment process over three years, with 10 percent of the state contracts affected in the first year, 50 percent the second year, and full implementation in the third year. The bill adjusts multi-year contracts for annual inflation and allows contract amendments for services or program requirements added by the state.
This bill is now pending before the House of Representatives.