NAHC, Senior Groups Submit Catalog of Policy Recommendations to White House Conference on Aging
May 21, 2015 03:55 PM
The Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO) is a coalition of 72 national organizations, including the National Association for Home Care & Hospice, concerned with the well-being of America’s older population. The LCAO is playing a critical role in preparation for the upcoming White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA). The LCAO recently submitted a catalog of policy recommendations for consideration by the WHCOA which includes a number of policies suggested by NAHC.
The first WHCOA was held in 1961, with subsequent conferences in 1971, 1981, 1995, and 2005. These conferences have been viewed as catalysts for development of aging policy over the past 50 years. 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act. The 2015 White House Conference on Aging, to be scheduled for this summer, is an opportunity to recognize the importance of these key programs as well as to look ahead to the issues that will help shape the landscape for older Americans for the next decade.
The White House specifically requested ideas from the LCAO that could be implemented in the short term by the Administration without requiring legislation. NAHC offered several proposals that were included in the catalog, including: 1) implement a Medicare home health demonstration program that waives the part-time and intermittent care and homebound standards, allows greater flexibility relative to services provided, and covers services in the home that would be less costly than in a SNF or hospital; 2) implement demonstration programs and pilot projects on chronic care management under Medicare provided by an interdisciplinary team of health professionals within home health agencies to ensure a discipline-integrated, community care-based approach to care management; 3) implement a demonstration project that would allow nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other non-physician professional practitioners to order Medicare home health services; 4) require states to submit a detailed Olmstead compliance plan each year and establish firm deadlines with penalties for non-compliance to encourage states to rebalance their Medicaid programs by increasing the availability of home and community based care and reducing reliance on institutional care.
Other proposals in the catalog that NAHC supports include requiring coverage of advanced care planning under Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal programs, including making payable the two new CPT codes for advanced care planning and adding reimbursement for advanced care planning to the Medicare annual wellness visit. The catalog of ideas also includes many long term proposals to expand home and community based care under Medicare and Medicaid, including the creation of a Medicare long term care benefit and improving mechanisms for ensuring that Medicaid beneficiaries can choose home and community-based care.
The WHCOA office has also invited all stakeholders to respond to a white paper it has issued on long term care. NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris offered a vision with specific recommendations for how America should address the challenge of providing long term care for the burgeoning elderly population.
“Encourage a policy that does everything possible to help seniors remain at home,” Halamandaris stated among his recommendations. “They prefer to be in the home setting, where they can thrive among theirfamily and loved ones. They should only be uprooted to an institution when there isan unmistakable need.”
To learn more about the WHCOA, go to its website at www.whitehouseconferenceonaging.gov. To view the LCAO catalog of ideas submitted to the WHCOA, go here. Stay tuned to NAHC Report for more coverage of the WHCOA.