NAHC: Full-Court Press on Medicaid
October 23, 2015 10:05 AM
In the past, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) has not been encouraged to spend a lot of time on Medicaid because the focus of the program was primarily at the state level. However, Medicaid continues to become increasingly a federal program as more and more states adopt the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. With the magnified federal presence in Medicaid, NAHC has launched a full-court press relative to the program through the National Medicaid Action Council, in order to devote more time, energy, and resources to Medicaid. NAHC and the National Medicaid Action Council will continue building efforts to inform members about developments in Medicaid and what those developments mean, and to take action to achieve positive change. To further address the growing importance of Medicaid at the federal level, NAHC encourages its members to join the National Medicaid Action Council and effectively position advocacy efforts moving forward.
NAHC announced the National Medicaid Action Council to build upon previous Medicaid efforts and put a greater emphasis on actionable steps to promote Medicaid home care services. The Board of Directors of the National Medicaid Action Council spoke at the 2015 March on Washington about its mission, specific objectives, and strategies for advocacy.
“The word that is important in National Medicaid Action Council is ‘Action’,” Ellen Bolch, Co-Chairman of the National Medicaid Action Council said. “We would like you to join this council,” Ms. Bolch said, indicating the importance of engagement from the home care community.
Andrea Devoti, Co-Chairman of the National Medicaid Action Council, said that while the home care community has spent a lot of its energy on Medicare issues in the past, Medicaid is an increasingly important source of coverage for home care services. In fact, five times as much funding goes into home care through Medicaid as through Medicare. Devoti further stated that the Council will focus on pediatric care, as well as services for the physically and mentally disabled, while working to ensure the effective use and adoption of technology.
Colin Roskey, Executive Director of the National Medicaid Action Council and Counsel to NAHC, said that with the growing importance of Medicaid home care, the National Medicaid Action Council will focus on how to effectively position Medicaid advocacy. Chris Jennings, a former White House Health Advisor to President William Clinton and President Barack Obama, said that effective advocacy increasingly requires engagement at the executive level—including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Office of Management and Budget—rather than focusing only on Congress. This is due to the fact that Congress, through inaction, has inadvertently ceded a lot of its authority to the executive branch.
As a result, the National Medicaid Action Council is focused on advocacy efforts in order to develop policies that are beneficial to Medicaid home care services. Some of these priorities include: the development of consistent definitions regarding skilled Medicaid home care; integrity measures to address the high potential for program integrity concerns and abuse due to the large amount of federal funding going into the program through Medicaid expansion in the states; and accreditation and training to ensure quality standards.
To view the video summarizing the efforts of the National Medicaid Action Council from the 2015 March on Washington, click here.