Representatives Dr. Ralph Abraham (R-LA-5) and Terri Sewell (D-AL-7) have written a ‘Dear Colleagues’ letter to other members of Congress, asking them to sign on to their bipartisan letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Acting Secretary Eric Hargan and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma, asking them to not finalize the calendar year (CY) 2019 Home Health Groupings Model (HHGM) in the proposed CY18 Home Health Prospective Payment System rule.
The relevant portion of the letter is reprinted below:
Home health is a critical and cost-effective service for our constituents and the millions of seniors and people with disabilities who rely on it for treatment and high-quality care in the environment they prefer –their home.
We have heard from a number of stakeholders who are concerned that the proposed rule lacks key methodology and data points. Complete information is essential for home health agencies to be able to accurately estimate the impact of the proposed HHGM on patient access and provider resources. It is essential that those most affected by the proposed rule have the opportunity, as well as the necessary information, to evaluate any consequences prior to the CMS finalizing the proposed reforms.
According to CMS estimates, the HHGM model and other changes included in the proposed rule are not budget neutral and could reduce Medicare reimbursements for home health services by as much as $950 million in 2019 alone. While we support efforts to increase efficiencies in Medicare, we believe this must be done in a prudent manner that does not compromise access to care for the increasing number of seniors and veterans who depend on these services to remain healthy and at home in their communities.
We agree and share CMS’ stated goal of more closely aligning home health reimbursements with the patients’ clinical needs. To that end, we ask that CMS not include the HHGM proposal in its final CY 2018 Home Health Prospective Payment System rulemaking and instead work with relevant stakeholders, including home health agencies, providers and patient groups, in a more inclusive process as you develop and implement payment reforms.
Home Health patients’ access to care will be jeopardized if the HHGM is not withdrawn from the proposed rule by October 31.
It is critical that leaders in the home health community –YOU! – contact your members of Congress immediately and urge them to sign on to the Abraham-Sewell letter. PLEASE GO HERE NOW to do so.
Home health care is a critical service that allows over 3.5 million patients to be treated in the cost-effective setting they prefer most – their homes. CMS is proposing to cut Medicare payments to home health providers, impacting millions of patients’ access to care, by completely overhauling the payment system with the so-called Home Health Groupings Model (HHGM). Implementation of this proposal would result in a cut to home health providers by an estimated $950 million in Medicare payments in 2019 alone.
The HHGM proposal would significantly redefine the Medicare home health benefit, imposing a 15% reduction in payment levels and an untested, wholly revised case mix adjustment model. If implemented, HHGM will create unnecessary barriers to care, and diminish the value that home health services bring to the Medicare system and the seniors who rely on them.
NOW is the time for you to get involved, now is the time for you to help preserve home health care for the millions of Americans who depend on it every day for their independence, peace of mind, and good health.
NAHC is grateful to Representatives Abraham and Sewell for their letter, which we believe and hope will be co-signed by many of their colleagues.
Please tell your member of Congress to sign on to the Abraham-Sewell letter and protect home health care. PLEASE DO IT NOW!