NAHC Hosts Teleconference on Rebasing Final Rule
December 5, 2013 01:49 PM
Earlier this week, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) hosted a teleconference detailing the specifics of CMS’ final rule on rebasing and what action NAHC is planning to counter the rule’s detrimental effects on the home care and hospice community. NAHC hosted a previous rebasing teleconference that focused on the Final Rule’s business implications for home care and hospice providers. This week’s call focused on legislative and regulatory action that NAHC and its allies may pursue.
NAHC’s President Val J. Halamandaris led the call. He was joined by Jeff Kincheloe, NAHC’s Vice President for Government Affairs; Bill Dombi, NAHC’s Vice President for Law; Richard Brennan, NAHC’s Vice President for Technology Policy and Government Affairs; Theresa Forster, NAHC’s Vice President for Hospice Policy and Programs; Colin Roskey, JD, Cozen O’Connor, NAHC Counsel; and, Mary B. Langowski, JD, Partner, DLA Piper, NAHC Counsel.
“We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and turn this rule around,” said NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris. “Many Members of Congress are as disappointed as we are at this rule promulgated by CMS.”
During the call, the panelists detailed what the rule means for the home health and hospice community, emphasizing that CMS’ own analysis shows that 43 percent of all providers will be underwater because of this rule. In NAHC’s own analysis, the total number of providers forced to operate either at or below their costs of care was over 70 percent of all providers. “Medicare’s rate rebasing formula is designed to pay less than the cost of care,” said NAHC’s Vice President for Law Bill Dombi. “The strategic goal would be to put off implementation of the rebasing rule for a full year and force CMS back to the drawing board to recalculate payment rates.”
The range of options that NAHC is considering to oppose CMS’ rebasing Final Rule includes a one-year delay or a permanent repeal. Both options would require legislative action in the form of an amendment to a broader-based piece of legislation. Two upcoming “must pass” bills being targeted are the December 13 budget resolution and the SGR or “doc fix” bill which will be considered around the same time.
“If there’s a silver lining in all this, it’s that we don’t have to wait around for a moving vehicle,” said NAHC counsel Mary B. Langowski. “I encourage all of you to talk to your congressional delegation and educate them. Having more home-based and less institutional care is what people want, what Congress wants and this rule runs directly counter to that.”
With such a narrow window of opportunity, NAHC encourages all of its members to contact their elected officials and urge their support in opposing CMS’ final rule – either in person during next week’s March on the Capitol or virtually through NAHC’s Legislative Action Network (Write Your Legislators).
“It’s extraordinary to see so many Members of Congress weigh in on this issue on our behalf,” said Mr. Halamandaris. “We have a very narrow, but important, window of opportunity for action. Let us remain positive rather than submitting to the indignities that have been thrust upon us. We are fighting for the good of those who need our help, care and assistance.”