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2024 Legislative Session Recap

From left: Director of Real Estate Development Cindy Reid, CEO Kim Fitzgerald, CS Resident & SASH Participant Penny Pero, and Director of Policy & Strategic Initiatives Molly Dugan at the State House for Vermont Housing and Conservation Coalition day.

2024 Legislative Session Recap

The 2024 legislative session was marked by a need for significant investment in housing, education financing, and flood recovery, among others, and limited existing resources. Cathedral Square’s top three legislative priorities, which included the need for additional investments in housing, services, long-term care and SASH, were impacted by the resource-scarce environment of the 2024 session. The outcomes on our priorities were mixed with some progress made but much more work to be done as we embark on planning for next year’s priorities! Fortunately, we do not do this work on our own. We partner with similar mission-focused organizations both informally and formally through coalitions such as the Long-Term Care Crisis Coalition, the Housing and Homelessness Alliance of Vermont, and the Vermont Housing and Conservation Coalition, to name a few. We are grateful to the Legislature and the Administration for the support they provided for our 2024 priorities.

Summary of investments in Cathedral Square's 2024 priorities:

  1. Modest Medicaid Rate increase for Assisted Living – 3% increase for Enhanced Residential Care (ERC) payments. We certainly appreciate and need the increase especially because ERC payments cover the cost of our nursing home level of care residents. The increase, unfortunately, does not come close to what was recommended in the 2023 DVHA Rate Study which recommended 13%, 37%, and 60% increases for the three levels of ERC payments.
  2. Investment in Affordable Housing – Approximately $26M to Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) in base and capital budget, which is full statutory share– a big accomplishment! Additionally, another $30M in one-time funds is possible to go to VHCB if there are unspent federal ARPA funds available. Another $6.1M to VCHB due to an increase in the Property Transfer Tax on second/seasonal (not camps) homes. Funds to create a state-funded supportive services fund did not materialize.
  3. Level funding for SASH Statewide Administration – This funding supports the training, data management, quality assurance, and technical assistance for SASH and SASH for All staff working across the state.

Other valuable legislation passed that will support older adults and those with disabilities including the expansion of the Medicare Saving Program (starting in 2026). This will reduce insurance premiums and out of pocket expenses while increasing outreach and education to primary care providers and the public regarding Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.