Hi – Below please find two action alerts:
- The first action alert is regarding public hearings for DHHS’ Section 1115 Waiver Proposal, on 5/17 in Portland (9am Cross Insurance Arena), and 5/18 in Augusta (9am Augusta Civic Center). The Department’s proposal is likely to affect access to health care for people experiencing homelessness. Please see the action alert below for more information.
- The second action alert is your input regarding a revised version of Maine’s Plan to End and Prevent Homelessness due by 6/13. A committee of the Statewide Homeless Council has been working on revisions to the Plan for the past six months and now it is time to hear from everyone who wants to weigh in from the Regional Homeless Councils or Maine’s Continuum of Care.
Action Alert 1:
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has released its Section 1115 Waiver Proposal, which it plans to submit to CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). There are aspects of the Department’s proposal that may affect people experiencing homelessness (click here for the Department’s complete proposal). Public hearings regarding this proposal are scheduled for Wednesday, 5/17 in Portland, and Thursday, 5/18 in Augusta; written comments can be submitted through 5/25 (see below for more information on the public hearings and submitting written comments).
I encourage you to attend one or both meetings to help educate DHHS about the effect of the proposed policy on the populations in need of services, particularly people who have been homeless a long time (LTS) or meet the chronic homeless definition. In these types of forums, posing questions can be a good way to have DHHS focus on our expression of the issues presented by the proposed strategy. I believe DHHS is required to answer any and all questions posed at these hearings. Let’s hope a good showing with many well thought out questions or concerns will aid DHHS in developing an improved policy that will be most helpful to the population. In your testimony – whether in person at the public hearing, or in your written comments – it is often a good strategy to include concrete, real life experiences that clearly illustrate the effect this waiver would have on the populations you serve. This waiver opens up service options for people. You can talk about what services do to help people gain and retain stability in the community.
Attached is the White Paper, presented to DHHS from the Statewide Homeless Council (SHC), on the best practice of using the 1115 Waiver for chronically homeless populations. This, and an addendum about cost implications (cost savings by doing so) were presented to DHHS in 2013 and 2014 respectively. It appears that this request to CMS to develop these protocols is DHHS’ only response since those white papers.
Here are some of 1115 waiver proposals, summarized by Maine Equal Justice Partners (MEJP), that may affect people experiencing homelessness:
- Some people would be limited to just 3 months of MaineCare coverage every 36 months;
- Some Mainers, even those with income below the poverty level, would be required to pay monthly MaineCare premiums or face financial penalties and loss of health coverage; and
- Parents, children, and pregnant women could lose MaineCare coverage if they have even modest assets;
- There would be an elimination of retroactive Medicaid eligibility;
- MaineCare recipients would be charged $20 for the use of the Hospital Emergency Department if they aren’t admitted for in-patient care–even if a doctor advised them to go to the ER.
- MaineCare recipients could be charged for missed appointments.
- This would create elimination of hospital presumptive eligibility determinations.
Maine’s Plan to End and Prevent Homelessness includes four overarching goals, with Goal 3 being “Ensure that medical, mental health, and substance use disorder needs are met to allow long-term stability and success.” It appears DHHS’ proposal may impede Maine’s ability to achieve the goals set forth and agreed upon in the Plan. Please participate in the public hearings and/or submit written comments and make your voice heard on this issue.
PUBLIC HEARINGS ON MAINECARE
Hearing 1: Portland Public Hearing
Date: May 17, 2017 Time: 9:00AM
Location: Cross Insurance Arena 45 Spring Street Portland, Maine 04101
Conference Line: 1-877-455-0244 Passcode: 7319892834
MEJP Facebook Event page for the Portland Public Hearing: https://www.facebook.com/events/360920680972682/
Hearing 2: Augusta Public Hearing
Date: May 18, 2017 Time: 9:00 AM
Location: Augusta Civic Center 76 Community Drive Augusta, Maine 04330
Conference Line: 1-877-455-0244 Passcode: 7319892834
MEJP Facebook Event page for the Augusta Public Hearing: https://www.facebook.com/events/1853652104896382/
Written comments on the proposed changes are welcome and will be accepted now through 11:59PM on May 25, 2017. Written comments may be submitted in the following ways:
By mail to: Division of Policy/MaineCare Services, 242 State St. 11 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333-0011.
Thank you for taking action!
Action Alert 2:
A subcommittee of the Statewide Homeless Council (SHC) has been working on updating Maine’s Plan to End and Prevent Homelessness over the course of the past six months. The Statewide Homeless Council has added its input. The summary of the plan has been added, and all of the language has been updated to be vision-oriented for objectives, and future-oriented for strategies. Other revisions include updating the Plan to reflect current initiatives, resource needs, and changes in population demographics. In addition to content revisions, the Plan has been reformatted to hopefully improve the look and flow of the document and the visual components. The visual diagrams are now designed to stand on their own to describe what needs to happen for each population. Now it is time for everyone who is part of Regional Homeless Councils to review this and add their input. The most recent draft of the Plan is attached; please review the document and forward any feedback prior to the next SHC meeting on 6/13.
This is your plan, designed to be a living, working document inclusive of everyone’s thoughts and recommendations across the state. These strategies, and actions taken are given regular consideration at the Statewide and Regional Homeless Councils, as well as the Continuum of Care as we work to end homelessness. You can forward thoughts, edits, suggestions, recommendations, etc., to . We are trying to have this completed by July, but need your contributions by June 13 to finalize this by July. Thank you for your input! Cullen.
Cullen Ryan, Executive Director
Community Housing of Maine
One City Center, 4th Floor
Portland, Maine 04101
Creating Homes and Inclusive Communities for more than 20 Years