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:: NAHC Report
  NAHC Report: Issue# 2707, 7/20/2015
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Senators Introduce Legislation to Develop National Strategy to Support Family Caregivers
HHS Announces Online Collection of Resources for Health Emergencies
For Your Information: Major Players in Passing Medicare and Medicaid Legislation: Phillip Aloysius Hart
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Senators Introduce Legislation to Develop National Strategy to Support Family Caregivers

US Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) recently introduced legislation to establish a national plan to support family caregivers. The Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act (S. 1719) would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to launch a National Family Caregiving Project with the goal of developing and sustaining a “national strategy to support family caregivers.”

In announcing the legislation, Senator Collins addressed the growing importance of family caregivers and the need to better support them. “The American population is aging and the need for care and support is increasing. Family caregivers are an invaluable resource to our aging society. Chances are that, sooner or later, we will all either be family caregivers or someone who needs one,” said Senator Collins. “The RAISE Family Caregivers Act will launch a coordinated, national strategic plan that will help us to leverage our resources, promote innovation and promising practices, and provide our nation’s family caregivers with much-needed recognition and support.”

Senator Baldwin stated that improved support for caregivers will help ensure high quality care for those in need. “Family caregivers are integral to our long-term care system and our economy, but are too often over-looked as part of the care team for seniors and those with disabilities. If we are serious about ensuring that our older adults and loved ones with disabilities receive the highest quality care in their own homes, we must formally recognize and support family caregivers,” said Senator Tammy Baldwin. “This is why I am proud to introduce the bipartisan RAISE Family Caregivers Act to create a national strategy and plan to assist family caregivers.”

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HHS Announces Online Collection of Resources for Health Emergencies

The US House of Representatives on Wednesday, July 15, passed legislation extending for an additional two years a home-based demonstration model implemented under the Affordable Care Act. The Independence at Home Medical Practice Demonstration Improvement Act (S. 971) extends for an additional two years the Independence at Home program focusing on certain high-risk patients with chronic illnesses.

The House passed the legislation by voice vote. As previously reported, the US Senate passed the legislation in April. The bill was introduced by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), along with cosponsors Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), and Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA). Following the Senate vote, the House Ways and Means Committee approved the legislation allowing consideration of the bill on the House floor.

The Independence at Home model uses home-based primary care teams directed by physicians and nurse practitioners to treat Medicare beneficiaries with chronic conditions. The demonstration tests a service delivery and payment model that provides incentives to teams based on their performances improving health outcomes and reducing expenditures. The reimbursement method shares Medicare savings between Medicare and participating providers.

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Major Players in Passing Medicare and Medicaid Legislation
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid legislation on July 30, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice is recognizing individuals who played an important role in passing the legislation throughout July.

“Mr. Integrity,” the press and admiring colleagues called him. Phillip Aloysius Hart developed a reputation for fairness and sound judgment throughout his distinguished career, which included nearly two decades (1959-1976) as a US Senator from Michigan. Born in Pennsylvania, Hart attended Georgetown University and the University of Michigan Law School before landing with the US Army. He was severely wounded during the D-Day assault in Normandy and returned home a war hero. Hart then became active in Michigan politics, working as a legal adviser to Governor C. Mennen Williams and later as Lieutenant Governor of Michigan. Among his passions was ending racial discrimination and prejudice. After two terms as Lieutenant Governor, Hart was elected to the US Senate where he found a voice as a consumer activist, cosponsoring virtually every major piece of consumer legislation, including the Drug Safety Act of 1962, the Truth in Packaging Act of 1965, and the Truth in Lending Act of 1966. Living up to his reputation for integrity, Hart voluntarily practiced self-disclosure and set a precedent by making transparent the financial details of his office operations. Hart helped push Medicare over the finish line by supporting the legislation in 1965. “I remember the expression,” he said, “that the politician is the law-priest of society. The corporal works of mercy are part of the business of how the government runs. A solid case can be made that, whatever the venality that attaches to the profession, politics is still a high vocation… I have regarded it as an opportunity to make a more humane life for everybody.”

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