Before August Break, Contact Lawmakers to Support Bill Allowing Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants to Certify Home Health Services
July 28, 2015 08:30 AM
With Congress’s annual August break quickly approaching, there is limited time remaining to encourage your members of Congress to indicate their support for the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act of 2015 (S. 578/H.R. 1342) before lawmakers leave Washington, D.C., to travel back to their home states. The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to adjourn at the end of this week, and the U.S. Senate is scheduled to adjourn next week, for the August break.
Last week, three members of the House of Representatives joined on the bill as cosponsors: Representatives Raul Grijalva (D-AZ-3), Gerald Connolly (D-VA-11), and Jackie Walorski (R-IN-2). With these additions, 129 Representatives and 34 Senators have now indicated their support for the legislation.
As previously reported, 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, so NAHC has set the attainable goal of 40 supporters in the Senate.
Please click here to see which Senators have cosponsored the bill and here to see which Representatives have cosponsored the bill. If any of your members of Congress have not yet cosponsored the bill, please use NAHC’s Legislative Action Center to contact them to cosponsor the bill right away. Thanks to everyone who has contacted their members of Congress so far to build support for this important bill.
Summary of the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act of 2015 (S. 578/H.R. 1342)
Nurse practitioners and physician assistants are currently authorized to work in states either 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 first visiting an unknown physician in order to receive home health care.
NAHC strongly supports this legislation, which will 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.”
Previous NAHC Report articles on the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act are available here, here, and here. NAHC Report will continue to provide updates regarding the status of this legislation.