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State Lawmakers Consider Emergency Funding For Home-Based Care

State Senator Shenna Bellows, a Democrat from Manchester, has introduced emergency legislation to increase funding for home-based care programs.

Bellows says she introduced the measure after the state’s largest home care agency announced it was closing. Home Care for Maine, based in Farmingdale, says state reimbursements have not kept up with increases in the minimum wage and other mandated costs.

“Aging in place is fundamental to healthy outcomes and quality of life,” Bellows says. “When the people we love can age in their own homes and communities, they, and all of us, are better off for it.”

Senate Republicans were quick to point out they had supported increases in reimbursement rates in the two-year budget that Democrats did not. The bill carries a price tag of $8.5 million, and has yet to have a public hearing.

Laurie Belden, the executive director of the Home Care and Hospice Alliance of Maine, says “these new mandates cost us money and someone has to be willing to pick up that cost, otherwise our current home care system will be permanently damaged and unable to recover when agencies can no longer sustain these costs.”

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.