On Monday, July 11, the Massachusetts House of Representatives announced a $3.8 billion Spending Bill. The bill includes $100 million reserve for supplemental payments to providers under Chapter 257. If approved and signed by the Governor, a total of $330 million in Chapter 257 rate increases will have been approved in the past few months.
It’s a good time to not only thank our state Representatives, but also to encourage our Senators to include the allocation as well. As you recall, an additional $350 million was needed ($351.6 million) to reach $20 per hour for our direct support workforce. Hopefully, this goal can be reached over two fiscal years.
On May 20, at the Central Mass Providers Conference, House Ways and Means chair Aaron Michlewitz stated that House members were discussing further support for our workforce.
We also have a recent clip from Governor Baker at a New England Council breakfast in response to a question from WORK Inc.’s Jim Cassetta regarding the workforce crisis. You can view that clip below The Governor recognizes the need to increase rates so organizations can pay $20/hour to their direct support staff.
More good news in our future?
The full language from the House’s bill is further below. Let’s work together to make competitive wages a reality!
1599-6066… For a reserve for supplemental payments to providers whose rates are subject to rate implementation under chapter 257 of the acts of 2008; provided, that any human service provider receiving said supplemental payments shall use not less than 90 per cent of said supplemental payments for their direct care workforce including, but not limited to, hourly rate increases, wraparound benefits, shift differentials, overtime, hiring and retention bonuses or recruitment, as defined by the executive office of health and human services; provided further, that said methodology for distributing such supplemental payments shall be developed in consultation with the executive office of health and human services and representatives of organized labor; provided further, that any human service provider shall, as a condition of receiving said funds, submit a spending plan for said funds to the executive office of health and human services; and provided further, that not later than November 18, 2022, the executive office of administration and finance, in consultation with the executive office of health and human services, shall report to the house and senate committees on ways and means: (i) the methodology used to distribute said funds; (ii) the distribution of funds delineated by provider; and (iii) the use of funds by each provider……………………………………………………………$100,000,000