NAHC Meets with CBO on Care Planning Improvement Act
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) met with officials from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to discuss the potential cost and savings implications of the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act of 2015 (HR 1342/S578). That bill would permit non-physician practitioners (NPP) including Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, Clinical Nurse Specialists, and Nurse Midwives to certify Medicare home health services comparable to physicians. This change has been a high priority for the home care community as more and more patients have NPPs as their primary care source.
The meeting was arranged by Congressman Greg Walden, the original sponsor of the bill in the House of Representatives. On the surface, such a meeting may seem a small matter. However, the progress of federal legislation is often hindered and, on occasion, blocked because CBO “scores” a bill as having a cost that is not offset by other savings or revenue. In many situations, legislation is blocked simply because CBO has not scored the bill due to other priorities. HR 1342/S578 is one such bill as a number of congressional offices and committees have pushed to have it scored to no avail in past years. The fact that the bill is now under review at CBO is positive progress for sure.
The CBO officials showed great interest in learning everything they could about what the bill does and what potential changes in care patterns and Medicare spending might be triggered by the legislation if it were enacted. NAHC, along with representatives from Congressman Walden, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and associations representing Nurse Practitioners thoroughly explained the role played by NPPS in home care with a special emphasis on how the bill would remove an impediment to direct clinical integration and communications between home health care and the patient’s primary medical practitioner.
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