NAHC’s Full Court Press for the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act
September 20, 2016 02:09 PM
NAHC’s government affairs staff has been meeting with numerous Congressional offices in the closing weeks before Congress plans to recess before the election, to request support for the Home Health Care Planning and Improvement Act (H.R. 1342). Now that the bill has gained 202 cosponsors in the House of Representatives, which is a credible number of cosponsors in the 114th Congress, NAHC’s efforts have been directed toward key members of the Committee on Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce Committees in order to advocate for the advancement of the bill through these committees of jurisdiction in the House of Representatives.
Last week, Richard Brennan, Sr. V.P. of Government Affairs, met with the staff from the offices of Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC-08), Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA-01), Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK-02), and Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL-12) who are members of the Energy and Commerce Committee and Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX-03), Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN-03), Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL-16) and Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX-24) who are members of the Committee on Ways and Means. Brennan also met with the office of Rep. John Kline (R-MN-02) whose rural district south of Saint Paul Minnesota could benefit from greatly from the expansion of authorizing responsibilities for nurse practitioners.
This week, Brennan is meeting with the offices of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA-22), who is a member of the Committee on Ways and Means and Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY-02) of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
The Home Health Care Planning and Improvement Act allows physician assistants (PA), nurse practitioners (NP), clinical nurse specialists, and certified nurse midwives to order home health services for Medicare beneficiaries. Currently, Medicare recognizes PAs, NPs, clinical nurse specialists, and certified nurse midwives as authorized providers who are able to perform many services for Medicare beneficiaries, including ordering nursing home care and prescribing medicine. They are not, however, able to order less costly and less intrusive home health care services.
Seniors and disabled citizens who see these medical professionals as their primary care providers often need an extra office visit with an unknown physician in order to get the care they need. In such situations, this impediment merely amounts to an extra administrative and paperwork burden, and creates an unnecessary step that fails to recognize current training and scope-of-practice guidelines. As a result, patients in need of home health care services are either placed in more expensive health care settings, or experience a delay in receiving the care they need. This legislation will relieve that burden for our most vulnerable citizens.
NAHC encourages its members to follow up with their members of Congress and advocate for the bill’s passage. Please use NAHC’s Legislative Action Center to contact your members of Congress who have not yet cosponsored the bill and request that they do so. To view which senators have cosponsored the bill, click here. To view which representatives have cosponsored the bill, click here.
Stay tuned to NAHC Report for further developments regarding this legislation.