Alliance Fights Cut to Home Health Rates

Pat Kelleher’s testimony regarding the January 22 hearing in front of the Division of Health Care Finance & Policy on MassHealth’s cut to home health rates.

Despite a rate that barely covers average direct costs, the state is now asking that agencies absorb the expenses associated with a 20% rate cut on approximately 40% of visits.  It’s difficult for home health agencies to see equity in such a cut and freeze reflected across the long term care system.

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Stimulus Letter to Gov. Patrick and State Officials

Letter to Governor Patrick and other state officials regarding stimulus funding for home health.

…it is troubling that once again, home health care agencies have been left off the list of essential providers to receive funds for rate relief. As you know, despite its cost-efficiency, the home health industry absorbed one of the most damaging MassHealth “9C” rate cuts last year in addition to an existing rate freeze. Additionally, home health care has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor as one of the fastest growing employment sectors. In light of these factors, it would appear that this money would more efficiently serve taxpayers and the health care system by including funds for the restoration of home health funding.

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Kelleher Testimony on Equal Choice Law

Pat Kelleher’s testimony regarding the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs Oversight Hearing on the Equal Choice Law is available for download.

The Equal Choice Law was passed with the intention of saving patients, families and MassHealth millions of dollars by limiting the amount of admissions into inpatient facilities.  With that theory in mind, it would seem that Equal Choice and home health go hand in hand. A 2007 study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University and Blue Shield of California proved that a patient-centered management program (PCM) where home care was increased by 22 percent and hospice by 62 percent actually reduced hospital admissions by 38 percent, reduced hospital days by 36 percent, and reduced costs by more than $18,000 per patient. The article heralding this study is attached to my written testimony.

Despite the goals of Equal Choice and the proven track record of home health, the industry has seen little that would indicate an intention – or even recognition – of the need to expand capacity in the community care area. In fact, if anything, we have seen the reverse.

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