Improve Home Health Access: Ask Congress to Allow Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants to Certify Medicare Home Health Services
March 15, 2016 11:06 AM
One of the top legislative priorities at this year’s National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) March on Washington Conference is to advance legislation that would allow Nurse Practitioners and physician assistants to certify Medicare home health services. As previously reported, it is particularly important to attend this year’s March on Washington given the number of pressing issues that require advocacy, and this legislation is one of the most important. The Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act (S. 578 / H.R. 1342) is currently before both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. NAHC is committed to securing additional cosponsors for this important bill in order to ensure it moves through the legislative process. Additional cosponsors will increase the likelihood of the legislation being scored by the Congressional Budget Office, which is a prerequisite for nearly every bill to be approved by a full committee in either the Senate or House.
The effort to build the list of bipartisan cosponsors has been highly successful so far. However, home care and hospice advocates must take action during the March on Washington to ensure it continues to build momentum and becomes law. The day of meetings with Congress during the March on Washington provides an ideal opportunity to ask your members of Congress who have not yet done so to cosponsor the bill. The Senate legislation currently has 46 cosponsors, with support most recently from Sens. Gary Peters (D-MI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Rob Portman (R-OH). The House legislation currently has 176 cosponsors, with most recent additions being Reps. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ-10), Rod Blum (R-IA-1), and Tim Walberg (R-MI-7).
On Tuesday morning of the March on Washington Conference, attendees will hear speeches at the Senate Breakfast from home care and hospice champions who have cosponsored the bill in the Senate. The speeches will provide guidance to advocates and kick off the day of meetings with Congress. The Senators who have confirmed they will be speaking so far include: Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who chairs the Special Committee on Aging; Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), a member of the Senate Finance Committee with jurisdiction over Medicare and Medicaid; Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a member of Senate Finance Committee; Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and the Special Committee on Aging; and Sen. Al Franken, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (see previous NAHC Report article here).
NAHC will make available a number of informational resources—including booklets and “legislative hotsheets”— for you to use in your meetings.
Prior to the March on Washington, please take part in a special NAHC effort to cultivate momentum for the legislation through social media. Please click here to use NAHC’s Legislative Action Center to contact your Members of Congress to support the bill. It only takes a few moments to participate, so please do so right away.
Also, if you have not yet done so, make sure to register for the 2016 March on Washington Conference here.