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Budget Priorities On Governor's Desk!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019  
Posted by: Jamie Klufts
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Budget Priorities On Governor's Desk!

Clawbacks, SNAP Gap, and Elder Behavioral Health


On Monday, both the House and Senate passed the Conference Committee budget and sent it to Governor Baker's desk for approval. The proposed budget includes language to limit clawbacks, close the SNAP Gap, and expand elder behavioral health services. This is a HUGE victory, but our work is not over.

Gov. Baker has 10 calendar days (until July 31) to sign the budget as is, or veto specific pieces of it. This is where you come in! We need you to call the Governor's office and advocate for our budget priorities. This will help ensure these important initiatives get included in the final Fiscal Year 2020 budget.
When the state budget process for FY 2020 began, NASW-MA focused our advocacy in 4 key areas, 3 of which were included in the Conference Committee budget:
  1. Limiting ClawbacksProhibits retroactive claims denial (also known as "clawbacks") for behavioral health insurance claims more than 12 months after submission, without written explanation, or without corrective instructions. When providers deliver a service in good faith and in compliance with eligibility rules, they should be compensated without fear of insurance companies taking back these payments years after the services were provided.
  2. Closing the SNAP Gap: The “SNAP Gap” refers to the more than 700,000 people who are enrolled in MassHealth and likely eligible for SNAP (food assistance), but are not receiving these benefits. This language gives the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) $1M to establish a pilot for a common application that would allow residents to apply for SNAP automatically when applying for or renewing MassHealth or Medicare Savings Program benefits.
  3. Expanding Older Adult Behavioral Health Services: Comprehensive services for behavioral health through the Executive Office of Elder Affairs have been sustained at $500,000. We are advocating to increase this funding by an additional $300,000, bringing funding to a total of $800,000.
Here's what you can do:
  1. Call Governor Baker's constituent services line at 617-725-4005
  2. Let them know that you are a social worker and resident of Massachusetts
  3. Ask them to support the 3 items outlined above in order to promote the health, safety, and well-being of social workers and the populations they serve
Thank you for your advocacy! With your partnership, securing these 3 items in the state budget is possible.

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