NAHC Submits Comments on House Ways and Means Committee’s Draft Legislation on Post-Acute Care
August 20, 2013 09:49 AM
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) recently submitted comments on the House Ways and Means Committee’s draft legislation on Medicare post-acute care, which includes a 1.1 percentage point cut in inflation updates. The House Ways and Means Committee has jurisdiction over the Medicare program, and NAHC’s comments come in response to the Committee’s request for public feedback on such proposals.
For more information on the draft legislation, as well as the request for public comment, please see NAHC Report from August 6, 2013.
In its comments, NAHC states that:
“We have grave concerns about the impact of further cuts to home health care payments on access to care and want to ensure that efforts to bundle payments to post-acute care providers recognize the central role that home health should play… The President’s FY 2014 budget proposal to cut payments another 1.1 percent over the next ten years, which was incorporated into the draft legislation, would further threaten access to home health care. Moreover, it ignores rebasing scheduled to begin next year, which will likely cut home health rates to the bone. More payment cuts on top of rebasing would devastate access to care.”
NAHC’s comments further elaborate on why the 1.1 percentage point cut should be rejected, stating that:
“With the 78 million baby boomer generation reaching their 65th birthday at the rate of 10,000 per day for the next 19 years, the need for home health services will only increase. Home health keeps families together and is overwhelmingly what patients prefer. It is far more cost effective for Medicare than institutional options. Below are the details of these massive cuts:
Congress included $39.7 billion in home health payment cuts under the ACA through 2019. It reduced the home health inflation update one percentage point for 2011, 2012, and 2013, mandated rebasing of home health payment rates beginning in 2014 with a 4-year phase-in, and imposed a productivity adjustment in the inflation update beginning in 2015 that will reduce the inflation update by an estimated 1 percentage point each year. While home health represents less than 6 percent of Medicare spending it took a disproportionate 10 percent in Medicare payment cuts used to pay for the ACA.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued rules that cut home health payment rates by 2.75 percent in 2008, 2.75 percent in 2009, 2.75 percent in 2010, 3.79 percent in 2011, 3.79 in 2012, and 1.32 in 2013 — for total reductions of over 16 percent which was in addition to the ACA rate cuts. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently increased the projected impact of the cuts to more than $32 billion.
As a result of sequestration, home health patients and providers will take an additional 2 percent cut reducing payments over the next 10 years by $6 billion dollars.
The public is invited to submit their comments to the Ways and Means Committee via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, August 30, 2013.
NAHC encourages all of its members and their patients to write to the Ways and Means Committee reiterating their strong opposition to further cuts in home health payments and describing the dire consequences this would have on home health beneficiaries and their caregivers.
Members may also wish to comment on the post acute care bundling proposal in the draft legislation. NAHC has taken the position that home health agencies should play the central role in managing any bundled post acute care payments.
To read NAHC’s full comments, please click here.