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Gov. Brian Kemp's veto changing how this business affords to keep going

Stephanie Henson said many caregiver companies were relying on Gov. Kemp approving a 4% rate increase for the Elderly and Disabled Waiver program.

MACON, Ga. — Stephanie Henson owns Angels At Home, a senior home care service. She said keeping up with costs has been hard lately- and Gov. Brian Kemp's vetoes for the state budget in May haven't helped. 

Kemp vetoed over $200 million from the state budget, and one of those things vetoed was a rate increase for providers that serve Medicaid patients through the Elderly and Disabled Waiver program. 

Under that program, Henson's caregivers provide in-home care to the elderly as an alternative to being in a nursing home. 

"The Medicaid rates we receive from the state are not keeping up," Henson said.

The rate hasn't changed since the pandemic, despite the costs of living and inflation being on the rise. Henson recently gave her staff a pay increase to stay competitive as a business and keep her staff happy.

"They are worth every penny. A good caregiver whose providing care for an elderly or disabled person, they need whatever they can get," she said. 

But with no rate raise from the state and rising costs, she's had to find other ways to balance out the costs of running a small business. 

"We've increased the rate that we charge the rest of our clients 15 to 20%," 

She said while her company will still continue to serve Medicaid patients, she understands why the veto might make other companies think twice - especially when other insurance companies will pay a caregiving business more for the same service. 

"This is gonna be the kind of thing that makes it hard for people to want to continue to accept Medicaid clients or to become a Medicaid provider in the first place. You know, if it's not financially sustainable, some people just won't want to come and join the pool," Henson said. 

She said it makes her sad because everybody deserves a chance to get the care they need. 

"Regardless of how your bill is getting paid, whether it's out of your own pocket, or whether it's Medicaid that's paying for it, or you have long-term care insurance, we want you to have excellent care," she said. 

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