House Returns from Recess
Action is needed to advance recently introduced rebasing bill
May 28, 2014 01:36 PM
The House is back in session this week after the Memorial Day recess, and action is needed to continue to advance H.R. 4625, the Medicare Home Health Rebasing Relief and Reassessment Act. Introduced by Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX), the bill seeks to suspend CMS’ flawed rebasing rule for 12 months and require that CMS reassess the rule and submit a report to Congress on alternative rebasing methods, including methods offered by stakeholders.
Currently, there are no other cosponsors, and NAHC urges all of its members to contact their elected officials and ask them to support this legislation. It is especially important to get a Democrat to cosponsor the legislation so that the bill can be touted as a bipartisan measure. The more sponsors the bill has, the more likely it is to see additional House action. The more bipartisan sponsors the bill has, the greater the likelihood that the Senate will take action, as well.
There has recently been a lot of interest from several Democratic Representatives, but so far, none have committed to become the bill’s first Democratic cosponsor. Now that the House is back in session, Representatives can officially sign on to the measure and show their support for the home care and hospice community.
In February, Rep. Hall – along with a bipartisan group of his colleagues – sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) urging congressional action to postpone CMS’ Final Rule on home health rebasing and require that CMS re-evaluate the rule.
The letter strongly reinforces the points that NAHC has been stressing since the beginning of the rebasing debate, namely that:
“If this rule is not postponed and appropriately evaluated, according to CMS projections almost half of the home health industry will be paid less than their costs. Current industry data shows that as many as 73% of home health agencies across the country could be out of business when the rule is fully implemented…
The Final Rule…clearly does not take into consideration the appeals made by the U.S. Congress and interested stakeholders. The Final Rule unnecessarily rebases payment rates at the maximum cut permitted under the Affordable Care Act: a cut of -3.5% per year over each of the next 4 years, totaling an unprecedented cut to Medicare home health funding of 14% by 2017…
Urgent action is needed as the Final Rule took effect January 1, 2014.Home health plays an essential role in our health care system by serving the Medicare population with skilled nursing and habilitation services in the least costly setting – the home, and it is imperative that we protect access to care through informed and reasonable rulemaking.”
The February letter outlines - and the legislation that was recently introduced would – provide relief from the rebasing rule while compelling CMS to look at alternative methods of rebasing.
NAHC asks all of its members to accelerate their efforts to obtain cosponsors for this bill, especially among House Democrats.
For legislative contact information, please click here.
If calling the lawmaker’s office directly, please ask the receptionist to connect you with the staffer who handles health care issues.
To send an email message requesting that your Representative cosponsor H.R. 4625, please click here to use the NAHC Legislative Action Network.
The Legislative Action Network provides a sample message you may personalize by adding your background, where you live in the district, and what impact the rebasing rule will have on home health care in the district.
To see the full text of the legislation, please click here.