Minor changes seen to human service payment legislation

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Gov. Deval Patrick is expected to make minor amendments to a bill that would update the way the state pays human service providers before sending the bill back to the Legislature.

Vic DiGravio, CEO of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Corps. of Massachusetts, says he believes the most significant change that Patrick will suggest is that the bill’s requirements be phased in over four years instead of three.

The bill would replace a system that dates back to the 1980s in which contracts can establish a pay rate for as long as 11 years without an adjustment. The new system would require the state Division of Health Care Finance and Policy to set new rates every two years. Advocates for the bill say it would help provide extra money to the state’s social service corporations, most of which are nonprofit organizations, to increase pay levels and reduce staff turnover.

Patrick has until the end of the day Wednesday to veto the bill, sign it or return it to the Legislature with amendments.