Massachusetts Officials Weigh Need for New Home Care Law

A Massachusetts hearing this week weighed the need for home care legislative measures within the state. 

As one of just five states that do not currently have licensure or certificate-of-need process for home health care providers, more oversight is needed, home care representatives and elected officials told Massachusetts’ Joint Committee on Health Care Financing Tuesday according to a report from the Worcester Business Journal

“Essentially what we’re trying to do is have a sort of gatekeeper bill, which is this, but we’re also lobbying on the federal level to have tougher re-certification standards,” James Fuccione, director of legislative and public affairs at the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts, told the committee. 

Testimony on bribery among home care providers was given by Rep. Alan Silvia, D-Fall River, who said monetary incentives for caregiver referrals should be treated without penalty. 

“The agencies, to assist the caregivers financially, have often given bonuses or referral fees to the caregiver if they refer a potential client that eventually is approved by the state for services. The amount paid ranges from $50 to $150 at most,” Silvia said, according to the report. “It provides the caregiver, who at most receives $600 per month, a little extra money occasionally.”

The meeting “included only scant questioning from the committee members and no testimony in opposition to the bills under consideration,” according to the report. “Rep. Ruth Balser, D-Newton, and others argued in favor of legislation that would speed up a provision included in last year’s health care reform law that requires insurance companies’ review of the clinical necessity and efficiency of health services to include criteria that is “scientifically derived and evidence-based,” and makes that criteria accessible to patients and doctors.”

Witnesses discussed the time frame for implementation of such measures. 

Read the full report

Written by Elizabeth Ecker