Adult Foster Care (AFC) helps roughly 10,000 Massachusetts residents receive the best possible care at home—and we’re thrilled to hear that lawmakers rejected a rate cut that would have cost this vital program $10 million in the coming fiscal year.
The cut was put forward in December by Governor Charlie Baker as a 9C cost cutting measure. But AFC supporters were quick to point out that it provides MassHealth with a cost-effective alternative to nursing facilities, by helping family caregivers succeed.
On average, nursing home care costs MassHealth $125 to $250 per day, while AFC costs only $50 to $85. And most people would rather receive care at home: the number of nursing facility days covered by MassHealth has dropped by 37% since 2000, in large part because of programs like AFC.
We think it’s a wise and caring investment of state resources, and we’re glad the House Ways and Means Committee agreed—putting language into the FY18 budget that preempts AFC rate cuts in the coming fiscal year.
By doing so, lawmakers are supporting family caregivers across the state—ensuring that they will continue to receive the clinical and social support they need. It also sends a clear signal to potential caregivers, who are weighing whether to take on that round-the-clock commitment, that they can count on MassHealth to help make it work.
Concern over these cuts was such that the Mass. Council for Adult Foster Care organized its first annual AFC Awareness Day at the Statehouse earlier this spring. We thank the many lawmakers who attended the event and met with us to discuss this issue, including State Senator Pet Jehlen, and State Reps Christine Barber, Mike Connolly, Paul Donato, James Lyons, Denise Provost, Steven Ultrino and Donald Wong.
And we especially thank the caregivers and people receiving care through the program, who showed up to advocate the importance of AFC. Our voices were heard, and a life-changing program preserved.
To everyone who helped make this happen: thank you.
Jeanne Leyden is Director of Adult Family Care, a non-profit Adult Foster Care program at Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services that supports in-home caregivers across the Greater Boston, North Shore, and Merrimack Valley areas. For more information, visit adultfamilycare.org or call 617-628-2601.