NAHC’s Legislative Year in Review: Some Important Successes and Some Battles Left to Fight
After a year filled with challenges for the home care and hospice community, 2013 ended on a positive note with several important successes. Both the House and Senate were able to agree on a budget deal that saw no new Medicare home health or hospice payment cuts and no home health or hospice copayments - two significant victories for NAHC and its members. Congress returned this week for the second session of the 113th Congress.
For more on the budget deal please see NAHC Report from December 17, 2013.
In terms of other success during the year, NAHC saw legislative accomplishments with respect to the introduction of the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act that would allow nurse practitioners and physician assistants to sign home health plans of care; the introduction of the Hospice Evaluation and Legitimate Payment (HELP) Act that would refine the hospice face-to-face requirement, require a demonstration of hospice payment reform, and increase hospice survey frequency; and the introduction of a bill that would modify the Affordable Care Act to define full time for purposes of the ACA employer obligations as 40 hours rather than 30 hours.
2013 also saw the inclusion of several NAHC-initiated pieces of legislation in the broader Senate Medicare physician payment fix package (SGR) - which Congress is scheduled to take up in the coming months. Both the Fostering Independence Through Technology (FITT) Act and a bill to allow physician assistants to act as the hospice attending physician were included in the Senate’s language.