The main issue facing Louisiana legislators during the 2018 Legislative Session was how to balance the state budget given an estimated $648 million gap as a result of the expiration on June 30, 2018 of temporary taxes. The 2018 Louisiana State Legislature was in regular session from March 12, 2018 through May 18, 2018. In addition to the regular session Governor Edwards called three special sessions to address the budget issue. The third and final special session ended on June 24, 2018 with the legislature approving a 4.45% sales tax rate. The sales tax rate goes into effect July 1, 2018 and will remain in effect for the next 7 years.
The CPA began the session with a goal of getting $40 million added to the state budget to restore and rebase the rates for ICF providers, HCBS providers, and Support Coordination.
While $40 million was not added to the state budget, through the tireless work of the CPA board, its members and others (DD Council, LACAN, Arc of Louisiana and the Supported Living Network) the following was accomplished:
The Louisiana Department of Health budget was significantly cut early in the session, and if not corrected could have resulted in many individuals with a DD losing services. However, the budget was fully restored by the end of the session.
Over $12 million was added to LDH’s budget to fund increases in rates, bringing the night rate to $11.00/hour and increasing payments to providers who serve individuals with high needs. Funding will also be used to fund additional waiver slots targeted to those on the waiting list with urgent or emergent needs. This is the FIRST time in 10 YEARS that DD providers have seen any increase in rates.
Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go to get to the $40 million that we need to restore and rebase the rates. However, considerable progress was made with several legislators and we have a commitment from them to work with us to get the money needed to restore and rebase rates for fiscal year 20.
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By uniting with the Community Provider Association you will not have to fight the battle to save our services alone. The Community Provider Association will equip you with the necessary resources and information to help you to stay competitive in today's ever changing disability service environment. The benefits of joining the Community Provider Association are numerous and invaluable.
Join us as together we continue to build the Community Provider Association into a great organization.
Established by the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016, EVV requirements initially carried an implementation deadline of January 1, 2019. However, that deadline has been delayed by a new law signed by President Trump Monday evening. States now have until January 1, 2020, to begin compliance with the EVV law. States can also apply for a good-faith extension that would extend the deadline until January 1, 2021. In addition, the legislation signed into law this week mandates that input from the public is solicited to help ensure the thoughtful implementation of the EVV requirement.
Justice Department Reaches Agreement to Resolve ADA Investigation of Louisiana's Use of Nursing Facilities to Serve People with Serious Mental Illness.
The Justice Department today announced that it reached an agreement with the Louisiana Department of Health (Louisiana) to resolve its lawsuit alleging that Louisiana fails to serve people with serious mental illness in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Justice Department’s complaint alleges that Louisiana places undue reliance on providing services in institutionalized settings such as nursing facilities, instead of in the community, for people with serious mental illness.
Under the agreement, Louisiana will create and implement a plan to expand community-based services like mobile crisis, case management, assertive community treatment, and supported housing to meet people’s needs in the community. In addition, Louisiana will assess all existing nursing facility residents with mental illness and all new referrals for admission to determine whether they can be served appropriately in the community.
“The ADA requires public entities to administer services, programs, and activities in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of qualified individuals with disabilities,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Civil Rights Division. “We commend Louisiana for committing to take the steps necessary to ensure that people with serious mental illness have the opportunity to live, work, and thrive in their own communities instead of being unnecessarily segregated in nursing facilities.”
Additional information about the Civil Rights Division is available on its website atwww.justice.gov/crt.
Community Provider Association is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. P.O. Box 82972, Baton Rouge, LA 70884