In January, after months of Congress considering ways to reduce federal spending in light of the so-called "fiscal cliff," the home health care industry was spared. Copays, additional cuts and accelerated rebasing were on the docket, but Congress opted to cut hospitals, imaging and renal care providers instead.
But, we're not out of the woods yet. To avoid going over the fiscal cliff, Congress extended the new year deadline for sequestration, which would reduce Medicare provider payments by 2%, to the end of February. Now that the newly-elected Congress has been sworn-in and is ready to get to work, home health is back on their radar, and the likelihood is very low that our industry will dodge copays, more cuts and accelerated rebasing for a second time.
Copay proposals range from $100 to $600, and accelerated rebasing could effectively cut provider reimbursement by anywhere from 3.5% to 10% per year for two years (2014 and 2015, instead of the four-year phase in from 2014 to 2017, as required by health care reform). Simply put, after $40 billion in cuts from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, our industry cannot sustain a copay or any additional cuts!
Industry leaders in Washington believe that home care was spared last month because of strong advocacy efforts by industry professionals (like you!) who weighed in across the nation. Together we sent thousands of emails to congressional delegations letting them know the value of our industry, and how that value will only increase with 10,000 Baby Boomers retiring every day. With Congress set to begin these discussions in the coming weeks, it's time to take action again!
Contact your state home care association to find out the most effective way to reach out to your Members of Congress and Senators