2021 Legislative Session House Bill 34

The Utah Legislature is considering House Bill 34 which will allow medical respite facilities to bill Medicaid for the services they provide. Medical respite is temporary housing with supportive services for homeless individuals who are too ill to be on the streets but not ill enough to be in the hospital. It provides continuity of care that results in better health outcomes while maximizing utilization of scarce hospital resources and lowering costs to the Utah Medicaid program.

On January 21st, the bill passed out of the House Health and Human Services Committee with unanimous support. Next it heads to the House floor, then the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, then onto the Senate floor. 

Medical respite facilities provide in-house care that includes all basic needs, transportation to medical appointments, 24/7 caregiver support, and comprehensive social and emotional support. These services and supports are the building blocks of the social determinants of health (SDOH), now a priority of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The INN Between has been providing medical respite care to terminally ill and medically frail homeless adults since 2015.

HB34 was sponsored by Representative Jim Dunnigan after having passed through the Health Care Reform Task Force. It will accomplish the following:

  • Create a Medicaid 1115 Waiver for medical respite care. This is a State - Federal process, similar to the Medicaid Expansion Waiver that was recently implemented.
  • Ensure that people experiencing homelessness who are served by Medicaid expansion will have access to medical respite services.
  • Reduce Medicaid costs to the State by lowering hospital admissions, the length of hospital stays, and hospital readmissions when that level of care is unnecessary.
  • Leverage a 90/10 Federal dollar match - for every dollar invested by the State, the Federal government invests $9 in return.

HB34 leverages a 90/10 Federal match. In other words, for every dollar that Utah pays, the Federal government pays $9.00.  Additionally, the annual ongoing cost of $125,000 is made up by savings to the Utah Medicaid system that will result from using medical respite services instead of costlier hospital stays. This is a win-win-win solution!

Click to see the full text of HB34. 

How you can help...

Please call or email your Representative and Senator to express your support for HB34.  Not sure who your legislators are? Click here to find out! 

The subject of your email can simply be, "Support for HB34."  The content can also be simple and direct, such as, "I am one of your constituents, and I am writing to express my support for HB34, Medical Respite Care Pilot Program."  Sign the email with your name and address.  Your message can go into more detail if you wish. It is helpful to share your connection and experience with The INN Between.

 Thank you for your support.  Together, we can ensure that everyone has a place to call home at the end of life or as they recuperate from a medical crisis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

More in this category: « The INN Between on KUED