NAHC Empowers Home Care Rural Advocacy Alliance (HCRAA)
February 27, 2014 03:57 PM
Val J. Halamandaris, President of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) announced NAHC’s support for a new affiliate, the Home Care Rural Advocacy Alliance (HCRAA).
“We are bringing together all the rural home care agencies in America,” said Halamandaris, “and those that provide care to underserved populations in order to make sure these indispensable agencies survive the Medicare payment reform known as rebasing. We also intend to work with them to win the extension of the 3 percent rural add-on, a payment differential that Congress added to help pay for the greater costs of serving patients who live in remote areas of the country. When the add-on expires in 2015, rural agencies will likely need to reduce the services they provide, so saving these agencies is our number-one priority,” he added. “Without them there will be no Medicare-sponsored home care programs outside of America's central cities.”
Halamandaris announced that former Senator John Breaux (D-LA) has agreed to serve as chairman of HCRAA and that former Senator Bob Dole (R-KS) has agreed to serve as co-chairman. “We are honored to have such great leaders for HCRAA,” said Halamandaris. “Their experience in Congress will be invaluable in helping NAHC formulate policy recommendations. Since both senators grew up in rural areas, they understand the special problems facing providers and caregivers who offer needed life-giving services in remote regions of our nation,” he said.
“The timing for this initiative is perfect,” Halamandaris added. “The great promise of the Affordable Care Act lies in its balanced approach to delivery of health care. Where you were born or where you choose to live should not determine whether you have access to quality health care. If America stands for anything, it is equal opportunity and justice.”
Through this new initiative, NAHC will collect information about the unique opportunities and challenges that confront rural home care providers. NAHC will interview hundreds of patients along with their families, and then use their responses in producing both documentary films and policy reports to share with the media and Congress.
“Most people have no idea how far home care nurses, aides, and therapists have to travel to provide needed health care and supportive services to home care patients,” said Halamandaris. “They don’t realize how difficult it is to reach some people who live in rugged terrain. They have no inkling how much more expensive it is to buy gasoline and provide services in remote regions of the U.S — but it’s time for them to learn about the roadblocks these caregivers confront. Members of Congress, in particular, need to know how valuable their services are to those who are so sick they cannot leave home without assistance. Together with HCRAA, we intend to educate Congress, the media and the general public.”
Membership in the new affiliate is open to all NAHC members. The Forum of State Associations has been asked to nominate representatives to serve on HCRAA. The 2014 NAHC March on Washington Conference & Exposition on March 23-26, 2014 will take place at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotelin Washington, DC, and offer programming created in part by members of HCRAA.
For more information about the March on Washington, click here.