Choose Home Care Act Picks Up Sponsors in Congress

  • Click Here to Urge Congress to support the Choose Home Care Act!

The Choose Home Care Act continues to build support in Congress with the recent addition of three new cosponsors in the House of Representatives. Reps. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), John Moolenaar (R-MI), and James McGovern (D-MA) have joined 33 of their colleagues in the House in supporting the legislation.

We thank the new sponsors of this legislation for their leadership on this issue.

The Choose Home Care Act seeks to provide an option to patients in where they receive their post-acute care upon discharge from a hospital within the Medicare program. If deemed a good fit by the hospital and home health agency for the Choose Home model, a patient could elect to continue their recovery at home with enhanced services and supports added onto the traditional home health benefit. The added services could include personal care services, meal delivery, and respite care, among several others.

The Choose Home Act is a top legislative priority for NAHC. In addition, other supporting organizations include AARP, the Partnership for Quality Home Health Healthcare (PQHH), LeadingAge, the National Council on Aging (NCOA), the Moving Health Home Coalition and others.

Imminent legislative activity is not expected as attention will shift towards reelection campaigns during the summer and early fall. In the meantime, NAHC will continue to build knowledge of the legislation on Capitol Hill, as well as add new supporters to optimize the Choose Home Care Act‘s chances of coming up for a vote.

NAHC encourages all members and home care professionals to urge their Senators and Representatives to support the bill. This can easily be done through the NAHC Legislative Action Center here.

Choose Home Care Act Picks Up Sponsors in Congress

Click Here to Urge Congress to support the Choose Home Care Act! The Choose Home Care Act continues to build support in Congress with the recent addition of three new cosponsors in the House of Representatives. Reps. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), John Moolenaar (R-MI), and James McGovern (D-MA) have joined 33 of their colleagues in…

Congress Debates HCBS Expansion, Improvement for Veterans

The Elizabeth Dole HCBS for Veterans and Caregivers ActH.R. 6823 introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month and would work to improve home and community-based services (HCBS) services for patients, their families, and their caregivers.

NAHC previously reported on it here.

Specifically, this legislation would:

  • Expand access to HCBS services for veterans living in US territories and to Native veterans enrolled in IHS or tribal health program.
  • Raise the cap on how much the VA can pay for the cost of home care from 65% of the cost of nursing home care to 100%.
  • Coordinate expanded VA home care programs with other VA programs.
  • Establish a pilot project to address home health aide shortages.
  • Providing respite care to caregivers of veterans enrolled in home care programs.
  • Establish a “one stop shop” webpage to centralize information for families and veterans on programs available.
  • Require the VA to provide a coordinated handoff for veterans and caregivers denied or discharged from the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers into any other home care program they may be eligible for.

Following the introduction of the Elizabeth Dole Home and Community Based Services for Veterans and Caregivers Act, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held a hearing on the bill, and several other pieces of legislation designed to improve the Veterans Administration (VA) and health care delivery for veterans.

In written testimony, Dr. Julianne Flynn, Acting Assistant Under Secretary for Health Care within the Veterans Health Administration offered support for numerous provisions included in H.R. 6823, in particular the increase of to 100% of what the VA can pay for home based on the cost of nursing home care. Likewise, the legislation received favorable comments from other members of the panel as well as testifying witnesses from the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and the Paralyzed Veterans of America.

NAHC supports this legislation as it will make much needed improvements for veterans receiving home care through increased accessibility, improved coordination, and caregiver support.

Congress Debates HCBS Expansion, Improvement for Veterans

The Elizabeth Dole HCBS for Veterans and Caregivers Act, H.R. 6823 introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month and would work to improve home and community-based services (HCBS) services for patients, their families, and their caregivers. NAHC previously reported on it here. Specifically, this legislation would: Expand access to HCBS services for veterans…

Bill to Expand HCBS for Veterans Introduced in Congress

Bipartisan legislation to ensure that veterans are able to receive care in their home for as long as possible has been introduced in the House of Representatives. The Elizabeth Dole Home and Community Based Services for Veterans and Caregivers Act of 2022 (H.R. 6823) would expand and improve expand the home and community-based services (HCBS) programs within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and align public policy with improved outcomes and patient choice, which is to stay in their own home.

NAHC supports this bill, as it will make much needed improvements to the delivery of HCBS for veterans, enabling options in how and where they receive care, while also working to address workforce shortages and support family caregivers.

Specifically, this legislation would:

  • Expand access to HCBS services for veterans living in US territories and to Native veterans enrolled in IHS or tribal health program.
  • Raise the cap on how much the VA can pay for the cost of home care from 65% of the cost of nursing home care to 100%.
  • Coordinate expanded VA home care programs with other VA programs.
  • Establish a pilot project to address home health aide shortages.
  • Providing respite care to caregivers of veterans enrolled in home care programs.
  • Establish a “one stop shop” webpage to centralize information for families and veterans on programs available.
  • Require the VA to provide a coordinated handoff for veterans and caregivers denied or discharged from the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers into any other home care program they may be eligible for.

The legislation is led by Representatives Julia Brownley (D-CA) and Jack Bergman (R-MI) and NAHC thanks them for their leadership on this important issue.

At introduction, Rep. Brownley stated, “Over half of all veterans that use VA are over the age of 65, age, combined with their unique health needs, makes many elderly veterans especially vulnerable to going into nursing homes and institutional care. Our nation’s veterans deserve the right to age comfortably and with dignity in their homes.

“I introduced the Elizabeth Dole Home and Community Based Services for Veterans and Caregivers Act to ensure that every veteran has access to the care they need, when and where they need it. The focus of my legislation is to keep veterans in their homes for as long as possible, if they want, bringing them the care they need to the place they feel most comfortable, and ensure that every VA medical center has these necessary support programs.

“By expanding home and community-based services, veterans will have the assistance needed to remain members of their communities, to be present in their family lives, to support their caregivers, and to age with dignity.”

Rep. Bergman added, “As the studies show and as many of the older Veterans throughout our Nation will attest, care in home settings is often preferable to care in a clinical facility. This is especially true for those disabled and elderly Veterans living in the rural and remote communities of Michigan’s First Congressional District. The Elizabeth Dole Home and Community Based Services for Veterans and Caregivers Act recognizes this reality.”

A hearing on the bill is scheduled for March 16. NAHC will update this issue.

Bill to Expand HCBS for Veterans Introduced in Congress

Bipartisan legislation to ensure that veterans are able to receive care in their home for as long as possible has been introduced in the House of Representatives. The Elizabeth Dole Home and Community Based Services for Veterans and Caregivers Act of 2022 (H.R. 6823) would expand and improve expand the home and community-based services (HCBS) programs within the…

Congress Expected to Pass Bill to Avert Major Medicare Cuts

The US House of Representatives passed legislation during the evening of Tuesday, December 7, that would delay significant payment cuts to Medicare providers. The Senate is expected to vote on and pass the bill in the next few days, where it would then be sent to the President’s desk to be signed into law. Assuming President Biden receives the bill, he will sign it into law.

This would represent a major advocacy win for NAHC and our members. By helping stave off the devasting rate reductions that were slated to start on January 1, 2022, Congress is recognizing that providers of all kinds, including home health agencies and hospices, continue to be historically challenged by the pandemic and unprecedented workforce shortages. Should the bill become law as expected, the delay in cuts will support the ability of NAHC members to continue serving patients and families at a time when high-quality home-based care has never been more necessary.

“NAHC commends the House for coming together to address these backward rate cuts. We now encourage our friends in the Senate to follow suit and swiftly pass this bill so home-based care providers across the country can continue to serve their communities without a major payment reduction imminently looming over their heads” said National Association for Homecare & Hospice President Bill Dombi.”

Text of the House bill can be found HERE.

The most relevant Medicare payment provisions in the House-passed bill include:

  • A three-month delay of the entire planned 2% Medicare sequester payment reductions, to be in effect January 1, 2022 – March 31, 2022 (i.e. no sequester-related payment reductions in effect for first 3 months of 2022)
  • A three-month, 1% reduction in Medicare sequester payment reductions, in effect April 1, 2022 – June 30, 2022 (i.e. a 1% across-the-board sequester-related payment reduction for Q2 of 2022)
  • A one-year delay until 2023 of the entire planned so-called PAYGO sequestration cuts, which were set to go into effect as a result of the budget deficit impact of the last major COVID-19 legislative relief package passed in March 2021. PAYGO cuts were estimated to be around $36 billion for Medicare providers.

Based on 2019 levels of Medicare spending for home health and hospice ($18.1 billion for home health; $20.9 billion for hospice), NAHC roughly estimates that the total savings across the two programs associated with this legislation reaches ~$1.85 billion.

The sequester-related delays in this bill are paid for by bumping up the sequester payment reduction amounts in the year 2030, and the PAYGO cuts are delayed for only one year until 2023. While this particular bill is very welcome news, the annual stress and threat of continued Medicare cuts is an ongoing challenge to home-based providers’ stability and predictability. NAHC is committed to fighting against harmful payment reductions and advancing sensible long-term sequestration relief.

There are other Medicare-related payment policies in the bill as well, including the maintenance of a 3 percent pay bump for Part B providers through 2022 under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, the delay of payment reductions tied to the clinical laboratory fee schedule, and a one-year postponement of Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation’s radiation oncology payment model demonstration.

Congress Expected to Pass Bill to Avert Major Medicare Cuts

The US House of Representatives passed legislation during the evening of Tuesday, December 7, that would delay significant payment cuts to Medicare providers. The Senate is expected to vote on and pass the bill in the next few days, where it would then be sent to the President’s desk to be signed into law. Assuming President…

Choose Home Care Act Gaining Strength in Congress

The Choose Home Care Act of 2021 is picking up crucial bipartisan support in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, as four more members of Congress have agreed to support the legislation. Reps. Jeff Duncan (R-SC-3), Ed Case (D-HI-1), Danny K. Davis (D-IL-7), and Michael San Nicholas (D-GU-At Large) have all signed on to support this bill, which is a top legislative priority for NAHC and the entire home care community.

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) thanks the Representatives for their support for the bill and we urge their colleagues to join them.

The Choose Home Care Act of 2021 is a landmark piece of legislation. If enacted, it would enable eligible Medicare patients to receive extended care services as an add-on to the existing Medicare Home Health benefit for 30 days post-discharge. This legislation would help seriously ill individuals recover safely at home, increasing patient and family satisfaction as well as significantly reducing the risk of exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and other infectious diseases.

The Choose Home model also promotes significant Medicare savings—up to an estimated $247 million annually— by offering nursing home level services in the home setting instead of in a skilled nursing facility or other institutional settings.

Recent polling data from Morning Consult show strong support for post-hospital care in the home with 94% of Medicare-aged respondents saying they would prefer health care at home to a nursing home. In the same poll, 86% of respondents expressed support for the Choose Home legislation, including 92% of Democrat respondents and 83% of Republican respondents.

First introduced in the U.S. Senate (S.2562) in July by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Todd Young (R-IN), a companion bill in the House was introduced last Friday, October 8, a companion bill was introduced in the House of Representatives. It is vitally important that the entire home care community rally to support this legislation. NAHC advocates have been working for months to build support for this legislation, but now we need your help to get the bill passed by Congress and signed into law.

GO HERE to tell your Senators and your member of the House to vote for the Choose Home Care Act of 2021. It literally takes you only seconds to send a powerful message to your specific elected representatives.

“Since being introduced in the Senate, Choose Home has received an outpouring of support from America’s home health community as well as consumer and patient advocates alike, which we believe demonstrates how important it is to increase access to safe, cost-effective care at home for Medicare beneficiaries after hospitalization. We commend Reps. Cuellar and Comer for their leadership on issues impacting the delivery of home care and are excited to see this bill introduced in the U.S. House,” said NAHC President William A. Dombi, Esq.

The bill is supported by AARP, the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare, Leading Age, Allies for Independence, the National Council on Aging, Moving Health Home, the Council of State Home Care & Hospice Associations, and the Forum of State Associations.

Choose Home Care Act Gaining Strength in Congress

Tell your members of Congress to support the Choose Home Care Act of 2021! The Choose Home Care Act of 2021 is picking up crucial bipartisan support in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, as four more members of Congress have agreed to support the legislation. Reps. Jeff Duncan (R-SC-3), Ed Case (D-HI-1), Danny K. Davis…