More Senate Cosponsors Needed as Support Builds for Allowing NPs and PAs to Certify Home Health Services
Keep Up the Momentum by Contacting Your Senators Today
June 19, 2015 10:18 AM
While Congressional support continues to build for legislation allowing Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants to certify home health plans of care, Senate leaders have indicated to the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) that additional Senate cosponsors would increase the likelihood of the bill moving forward. As previously reported, earlier this year U.S. Senators Susan M. Collins (R-ME) and Chuck E. Schumer (D-NY) introduced the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act of 2015 (S. 578) and recently sent a letter to their Senate colleagues to rally support for the legislation.
NAHC in coordination with other organizations supporting the bill has set the goal of achieving 40 cosponsors for the Senate bill, and as many as possible for the House bill. The Senate Finance Committee plans to markup certain non-controversial Medicare bills in the near future, and key Senate staffers have indicated that this bill would gain significant momentum to be included in the markup if it were to receive 40 cosponsors.
Recently Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Cory Gardner (R-CO) joined the bill bringing the total sponsors and cosponsors to 29. Please view the table to see whether your senators have cosponsored the bill, and if not use the Legislative Action Center to contact your senators to cosponsor the bill right away.
While NPs, PAs, clinical nurse specialists, and certified nurse midwives are currently authorized to perform many services for Medicare beneficiaries, including ordering nursing home care and prescribing medicine, they are unable to order less costly and less intrusive home health care services.
A growing number of individuals are receiving home-based care from non-physician health professionals. However, because non-physician health professionals are unable to certify home health services, patients face the burden of visiting an unknown physician first in order to receive home health care.
NAHC strongly supports this legislation as a means to reduce expensive hospitalizations and nursing home stays. “Outside experts assessed the impact of the bill earlier last year and projected a Medicare savings of $7.1 million in 2015 and up to a ten-year savings of $252.6 million,” stated a letter in support of the legislation from leading senior and disability advocacy groups including NAHC. “This analysis also notes the potential to reduce beneficiary admissions to and lengths of stay in institutional settings under the policy change.”
NAHC Report will continue to provide updates regarding the status of this legislation.