House passes bill intended to limit Pioneer Home rate hikes

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The Alaska House has passed legislation seeking to limit what the state can charge residents of the state-supported elder-care facilities known as Pioneer Homes.

Rep. Zack Fields, who sponsored the bill, has said it would raise rates to take into account inflation since 2004. But the rates would not be as high as those the Department of Health and Social Services proposed to better cover the cost of services.

The bill and the department propose adding new tiers of services. The bill would allow the department to set a rate it deemed sufficient for the most comprehensive level.

The bill would limit future rate changes.

The department, in a fiscal analysis, said the bill would set in law rates that are 29 percent less than the cost of providing services.

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