HCA Comments to Federal Deficit Reduction Committee

With a home health copayment and other potential hazards hanging in the balance, the Home Care Alliance sent off an official letter to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to reiterate strong opposition to what would amount to a “sick tax” on certain Medicare patients.

Following up on the recent visit to Washington DC, the letter was sent to the co-called Super Committee, which includes Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, and was copied to the state’s Congressional Delegation. The letter was especially timely, as a group of Alliance members and staff met last week with Senator Kerry to discuss specific concerns.  

The Alliance particularly targeted a recent proposal from President Obama to institute a copayment for Medicare home health services. If passed, the copayment would amount to $100 per 60-day episode on certain Medicare beneficiaries beginning in 2017. The copayment would not be imposed for episodes following a stay in an acute care facility and would apply to patients receiving five or more visits.

The Alliance’s letter, aside from opposing the copayments, also points out that Massachusetts has not experienced the same growth in the number of home health agencies as other parts of the country.  The Alliance argues that such broad payment reductions or copayments are punishing the wrong people and not targeting offenders of fraud and abuse. The Alliance also offers alternatives like a moratorium on new certified agencies, better targeting fraud and abuse in areas of substantial growth, and further capping outlier payments.

Agencies and concerned advocates are encouraged to submit comments opposing the copay and offering alternative solutions as mentioned in the Alliance’s letter to the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction by visiting the comment submission page of their website.

The Alliance also has the opening remarks of Committee Co-Chair Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington) on the HCA YouTube page and will continue to provide updates as they become available.

Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.

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