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Baker Nursing Home Package Includes $140M Investment

Mass. Gov Charlie Baker gives a daily coronavirus update on June 26, 2020 in Boston. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
Mass. Gov Charlie Baker gives a daily coronavirus update on June 26, 2020 in Boston. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

Up to $140 million in investments and restructured Medicaid rates are at the center of a new package of nursing home reforms and supports announced Thursday by the Baker administration.

Health and human services officials said the package will supplement changes announced in April to hold facilities to higher standards of care and infection control. Nursing homes this year were at the center of the state's deadly COVID-19 surge.

State officials say that new COVID-19 cases in nursing facilities have declined by over 93% since April, and deaths have declined by 98%, based on seven-day averages.

The Nursing Facility Accountability and Supports Package 2.0, according to the administration, includes new requirements to strengthen staffing and the direct care workforce, ensure adequate spacing in congregate rooms, and improve standards of care. It also features a long-term $82 million investment through MassHealth rate restructuring, up to $60 million in targeted, COVID-19 funding; and oversight and monitoring measures.

"We applaud Health and Human Services Secretary Sudders and Governor Baker for proposing a fundamental redesign on the state’s nursing facility funding system," Tara Gregorio, president of the Massachusetts Senior Care Association, said in a statement released by the administration. "Under the reforms, the state is clearly prioritizing the health and safety of our residents and their caregivers and we look forward to continuing to work with the Administration to further these efforts today and in the years to come?."

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