The federal government is planning another cut to home health care through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). If it goes through, Medicaid payments for home health services would be cut by 6.42 percent in 2020. This would total about $1 billion in costs for CMS in that fiscal year.
The reason for these proposed pay cuts have to do with potential changes in how services will be provided to clients based on the new reimbursement requirements already put into place. If these cuts go through, though, it will be another stressor to the entire home care industry that could dramatically impact the ability for many seniors and disabled adults to receive quality and the amount of care they require at home.
Congress has an opportunity to properly fund in-home health care for millions of Americans, but it’s unclear whether the Home Health Payment Innovation Act can pass legislation.
According to an op-ed piece, Protect home health for seniors, written by Amy Thomas and published by The Meridian Star in its ‘Your View’ section:
“However, a new Medicare payment model threathens [sic] to restrict access to care for America’s most vulnerable seniors who depend on these services. If implemented, this payment model will cut Medicare home health by 6.42 percent – equaling more than $1 billion in 2020 – based purely on asumptions [sic] about changes in provider behaviors under the new system.
Fortunately, Congress has recently taken action to protect home health by introducing the Home Health Payment Innovation Act (S. 433 & H.R. 2573). While our lawmakers are home for summer recess, I encourage them to learn more about their constituents who depend on home health and urge them to support this vital legislation when they return to Capitol Hill.”
Medicaid reimbursements were slashed by 14 percent over the course of four years as a way to help pay for the Affordable Care Act of 2010, and it impacted numerous home care agencies operating across the country. Many smaller, independent businesses either sold out to larger conglomerates or were forced to merge with other companies.
Some survived, but the impact that level of reimbursement cuts had was significant. It has left some elderly and disabled clients unable to receive the level of care they actually need. These cuts, though not nearly as dramatic, could have a similar impact on the industry.
Some changes do inspire innovation, but some place enormous pressure, especially on smaller, independent agencies whose only goal is to provide the support and service people in need deserve and it’s these smaller, independent agencies that tend to support clients in suburban and rural environments who could very well be impacted the most by increased reimbursement cuts.
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