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Washington, D.C. (September 21, 2015)The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) lauded Representatives Greg Walden (R-OR-2), Tom Price (R-GA-6), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3), and James McGovern (D-MA-2), along with 129 other bipartisan members of the U.S. House of Representatives, for sending a letter on Friday, September 18, to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that urges CMS to withdraw their proposed case mix cuts and unsustainable value-based purchasing penalties.
NAHC would like to express its gratitude to Representatives Greg Walden (R-OR-2), Tom Price (R-GA-6), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3), James McGovern (D-MA-2), and the bipartisan complement of 129 U.S. Representatives who signed this letter in support of home health services for Medicare beneficiaries, said NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris. The letter sends a strong message that CMS should withdraw their proposed case mix cuts and unsustainable value-based purchasing penalties. These additional payment modifications would be devastating for home health agencies, particularly small and rural providers, and would endanger Medicare patients ability to receive the care they need in their homes. This overwhelming support from Congress helps NAHC and its members deliver the message to CMS that they should withdraw or modify their proposals accordingly.
In June, CMS issued the Home Health Prospective Payment System (HHPPS) proposed rule for 2016. Two concerning elements of the rule are the 1.72 percent “case mix” cut in 2016 and again in 2017, and the application of a 5-8% range in penalties and incentive payments for the proposed Home Health Value-Based Purchasing (HHVBP) pilot program. The draft HHPPS rule’s proposed case-mix cut and the impact of the HHVBP pilot could exacerbate the weakened fiscal environment in which home health providers are already working, impacting the care upon which some of the most vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries depend.
The letter from the Representatives urges CMS to reconsider its proposed case mix cut until it evaluates the specific causes of case mix weight changes from 2012 to 2014 and consider a more reasonable implementation schedule for the proposed withhold amount in the HHVBP program.
In addition to sending its own comments to CMS opposing these proposals, NAHC enlisted Congressional support in order to convince CMS to back off the rate cuts and revise the Value-Based Purchasing proposal. CMS must consider the NAHC comments and Congressional comments along with any others submitted in developing the final rule. That final rule is expected to be released in late October or early November as it must be issued at least 60 days prior to its January 1, 2016, effective date.
A copy of the letter from the Representatives is available here.
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) is a non-profit organization that represents the nations 33,000 home care and hospice organizations. NAHC also advocates for the more than two million nurses, therapists, aides and other caregivers employed by such organizations to provide in-home services to some 12 million Americans each year who are infirm, chronically ill, disabled and dying. Along with its advocacy, NAHC provides information to help its members provide the highest quality of care and is committed to excellence in every respect. To learn more about NAHC visit www.nahc.org.