Congressional Support Builds for Allowing NPs and PAs to Certify Home Health Services
Help Keep Up the Momentum by Contacting Your Senators and Representatives Today
June 29, 2015 09:00 AM
Four members of the U.S. House of Representatives—Greg Walden (R-OR), Ron Kind (D-WI), Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)—sent a letter this week to their House colleagues encouraging them to cosponsor the House version of the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act of 2015, following a similar letter by U.S. senators last month to recruit support for the Senate version of the legislation, as reported by the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC).
“The Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act of 2015 would ensure that our Medicare beneficiaries get the home health care they need in a timely manner by allowing NPs [nurse practitioners], CNSs [clinical nurse specialists], CNMs [certified nurse midwives], and PAs [physician assistants], to order home health services, if their state allows it,” Representatives Walden, Kind, Jenkins, and Schakowsky wrote in the letter.
So far, the House bill has 112 cosponsors including an impressive 15 bipartisan original cosponsors from key committees with jurisdiction over the legislation. The Senate bill now has 33 bipartisan cosponsors. Most recently, Sen. Baldwin (D-WI), Sen. Schatz (D-HI), and Sen. Kirk (R-IL) joined as cosponsors.
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. NAHC is working with key champions in Congress to receive a Congressional Budget Office score of the legislation and technical assistance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services so that the bill can move forward in the Committee process. More Congressional cosponsors would increase the likelihood of the bill being included in a future Committee markup.
Please click here to see if your senators have cosponsored the bill and click here to see if your Representative has done so. If not, please use the Legislative Action Center to contact them to cosponsor the bill right away.
Nurse practitioners and physician assistants are currently authorized to either work in states independently or in coordination with physicians to treat, diagnose and prescribe medicine. However, they are unable to order home health care services.
The fact that non-physician health professionals are unable to certify home health services is increasingly a problem because more and more people are receiving home-based care from non-physician health professionals. As a result, patients face the burden of visiting an unknown physician first in order to receive home health care.
NAHC strongly supports this legislation, which will reduce expensive hospitalizations and nursing home stays. NAHC Report will continue to provide updates regarding the status of the bill.