Action Alert: Contact Your Representative to Sign Letter to CMS to Prevent Home Health Payment Cuts
July 31, 2015 03:03 PM
Representatives Greg Walden (R-OR), Tom Price (R-GA), James P. McGovern (D-MA), and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), are circulating among their colleagues a sign-on letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that expresses concerns about the proposed home health case mix cut and the proposed Home Health Value Based Purchasing (HHVBP) penalty percentage. Both concerning proposals were included in the Home Health Prospective Payment System (HHPPS) proposed rule for 2016, which CMS issued in July. The National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) summarized the proposed changes in a previous article available here.
“Home health is a critical service that allows frail senior citizens and individuals with disabilities to receive the medical treatment they need in their homes without having to be placed in a more costly healthcare setting,” the Representatives stated in the letter to their colleagues. “The draft HHPPS rule’s proposed case-mix cut and the nature of the HHVBP implementation could exacerbate the weakened fiscal environment in which providers are already working, impacting the care upon which some of the most vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries depend.”
Following are details regarding the concerning CMS proposals:
Case Mix Cut: the draft HHPPS rule proposes to cut home health payment rates by an additional 1.72 percent in 2016 and again in 2017. This proposed “case mix” reduction is a concern because it appears to be based on a 2000-2010 case mix weight change analysis, not the changes in the condition of beneficiaries during the 2012 to 2014 period.
Home Health Value-Based Purchasing: the draft rule proposes a HHVBP program that would impose an incentive/penalty range of as much as 5 to 8 percent over a 5-year period. The aggressive nature in which the Secretary intends to ramp up HHVBP is concerning.
By sending the letter to their colleagues, the Representatives intend to recruit other lawmakers to sign the letter to CMS which is scheduled to be sent in September. Both the ‘Dear Colleague’ letter and the proposed letter to CMS are available here.
The intent of the letter to CMS is to ask the agency to “reconsider its proposed case mix cut until it evaluates the specific causes of case mix weight changes from 2012 to 2014 and consider a more reasonable implementation schedule for the proposed withhold amount in the HHVBP program.
Contact your member of Congress to join the letter to CMS opposing these policy changes using NAHC’s Legislative Action Center by clicking here. The deadline for lawmakers to sign the letter to CMS is September 2.