In The News

Biden crafts new spending package aimed at attracting all Democrats

The Washington Post

The announcement is a critical moment in Biden’s tenure, and the president plans to visit Capitol Hill on Thursday morning to address House Democrats, many of whom have been distressed by the programs being jettisoned to cut the proposal’s overall cost. While many key lawmakers did not immediately weigh in on the new plan, the White House stressed Biden’s belief that it will attract the support ofall Democrats in the Senate and pass the House.
Biden is also expected to make public remarks touting the plan as a generational boon to Americans.
Taken together, the moves reflect a decision by Biden to assume ownership of the sweeping safety-net proposal in a new way. He is investing enormous political capital in his new proposal — which follows days of intensive, secretive meetings with key lawmakers — and is essentially warning any wary Democrats that they risk damaging him and the party if they do not get on board.
The new signature initiative would expand Medicare benefits, promote cleaner energy, offer free prekindergarten and other educational opportunities and invest heavily in social safety net programs, including tax credits and other aid that chiefly benefit low-income families. It would mark the most far-reaching social package in years.
The administration has proposed funding the efforts through a slew of proposals, including a new surtax targeting ultrawealthy Americans.
Many of the components in the retooled, sweeping blueprint originate in the proposals Biden put forward in the spring. The ideas correspond with promises the president and other party candidates made in the course of the 2020 election, when Biden ran on a refrain to “build back better.”
But the policy framework that White House aides unfurled Thursday is a significant departure from the roughly $3.5 trillion that the president and many top party lawmakers initially sought. Downsizing that plan forced the president to jettison some of his own priorities, including a fuller expansion of Medicare and a plan to provide paid family leave to millions of Americans.
Many of the cuts reflected deep ideological divides among party liberals, who sought to spend aggressively, and moderates, who repeatedly in the debate have tried to dial back Democrats’ spending. While the shrinking size, from $3.5 trillion to $1.75 trillion, allows moderates to claim they significantly pared back the package, it also is certain to leave many liberals disappointed that they could not accomplish more.

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More than 237,000 Colorado health workers fully vaccinated; hundreds of facilities remain out of compliance

More than 237,000 health care workers are fully vaccinated and in compliance with the state mandate, new data shows, but hundreds of facilities have yet to report their data, and officials have begun issuing citations to those organizations.

The mandate took effect Oct. 1, and facilities were required to begin reporting their workforces' uptake first that day and again by Oct. 15. But as of Oct. 14, a third of them — 794 — have yet to do so, according to data provided by the state Tuesday. All of those facilities were out of compliance with the mandate, and the state informed them of their "impending deficiencies" late last week, said Jessica Bralish, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Health and Environment. 

"CDPHE is issuing citations to all facilities that failed to report," she said in an email.

When the state Board of Health passed the emergency rule requiring 100% vaccination of health care workers, officials made clear the state would hold facilities — not individual providers or workers — responsible for both tracking and ensuring uptake. Should facilities report below 100% compliance — which allows for some exemptions — they will face an escalating series of consequences, up to the state suspending or revoking their licenses, officials have said. 

Representatives from various health industries, particularly the hospital and nursing home trade groups, have lobbied the state to lower the mandate to 90%, which would be in line with flu vaccine regulations. But state officials have firmly denied that request and have said they will wait for guidance from the federal government, which has its own, yet-to-be-detailed mandate coming.

According to a list of the 794 deficient facilities that have yet to report their numbers, 283 — more than 35% — are assisted-living centers. Vaccination uptake among long-term care staffers has been a consistent concern among industry and state leaders since vaccines became available late last year. Even though they were among the first group to be eligible to receive the vaccine, those workers were consistently behind both their residents and medical providers in uptake rates.

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Veterans Day Resources - Get Ready for November 11

Below are some resources from the WHV team for Veterans Day. Share your event or activities with the team by emailing [email protected].


Congressional Report Highlights Ways to Better Support Family Caregivers

From the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC)

The RAISE (Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage) Family Caregiving Advisory Council recently delivered to Congress key recommendations to support the millions of unpaid family caregivers that support older adults and people with disabilities in every community in the country.

The recent congressional report is the result of a wide-ranging two-year research and information-gathering effort. Recommendations fall under five goals, which include:

  • Increasing Awareness of Family Caregivers to increase public understanding of the contributions caregivers make, including helping individuals self-identify as caregivers so that they can get the support they need.
  • Engaging Family Caregivers as Partners in Healthcare and Long-Term Services and Supports to better integrate family caregivers into healthcare processes and systems.
  • Improving Access to Services and Supports for Family Caregivers including counseling, respite care, peer support, training on common in-home medical tasks, and practical assistance like transportation. Also included is a recommendation for strengthening the paid caregiver workforce.
  • Supporting Financial and Workplace Security for Family Caregivers to decrease the impact family caregiving can have on the financial well-being and professional lives of caregivers.
  • Generating Research, Data, and Evidence-Informed Practices to help create policies and interventions that meaningfully help family caregivers.

Over 50 million people provide a broad range of assistance to support the health, quality of life, and independence of someone close to them each year, according to AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving. An estimated one in seven individuals are family caregivers, and more than two-thirds of people will need assistance with tasks as they age.

A critical strategy for addressing the breadth of challenges family caregivers face is to better integrate them into the care planning and delivery process carried out by professional care providers, including home health, hospice, and personal care agencies. Specific Council recommendations aligned with this strategy include improving and institutionalizing family caregiver assessments into the care planning process, increasing provider training to recognize and triage family caregiver needs, and ensuring that quality measurement structures do a better job of capturing family caregiver needs and challenges.

The Council’s recommendations are intended to serve as the foundation of the forthcoming National Strategy to Support Family Caregivers. The strategy will drive increased recognition and support for family caregivers by proposing specific actions that can be taken at the federal and state levels, by local communities, philanthropic organizations, and educational bodies, as well as healthcare and long-term services providers. The strategy will also provide a roadmap for the nation to strengthen its support and recognition of the critical role family caregivers of all ages play in healthcare and long-term support systems.

The Council was created by the RAISE Family Caregivers Act, which became law in January of 2018, and directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop a comprehensive national family caregiving strategy.


Quality Reporting Program: Non-Compliance Letters for CY2022 APU for Home Health Agencies

CMS is providing notifications to home health agencies that were determined to be out of compliance with Quality Reporting Program (QRP) requirements for CY 2020, which will affect their CY 2022 Annual Payment Update (APU). Non-compliance notifications are being distributed by the Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) and were placed into HHAs’ My Reports folders in iQIES on October 8, 2021. Facilities that receive a letter of non-compliance may submit a request for reconsideration to CMS via email no later than 11:59 pm ET, November 10, 2021.

If you receive a notice of non-compliance and would like to request a reconsideration, see the instructions in your notice of non-compliance and on the Home Health Quality Reporting Reconsideration and Exception & Extension webpage.

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