With the Pennsylvania budget still under discussion, PSNA continues to monitor the proposed State sales tax expansion on nursing services. These include home healthcare services, nursing and residential care facilities, and ambulatory healthcare services. We believe it will negatively impact our most vulnerable populations by compromising patient care, as well as restricting access to vital health care services. At a time when the nation seeks to continue regulatory and legislative paths to lowering the cost of healthcare, these proposed taxes will significantly increase the overall cost of care.
Nursing care, especially in a patient’s home, is necessary for those patients transitioning home following an illness or for those who, due to a medical condition, cannot leave their home. Homecare nursing is also a safe and effective way to deliver affordable coordinated care. According to a press release issued by Governor Tom Wolf’s office on February 27, 2015: “For every month a resident receives care in the community as opposed to a nursing facility, the Commonwealth is able to save $2,457 per month. In expanding home- and community-based services to more than 5,500 residents, the Commonwealth is offsetting more than $162.2 million in nursing care costs.” The imposition of the sales tax may establish a barrier in the utilization of these services and will cause a financial impact on other areas of healthcare delivery. The inability to access vital nursing care services due to an increase in cost may force Pennsylvania’s citizens into overcrowded emergency rooms, which only exacerbates the cost of healthcare.