House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) released draft legislation that would seriously change the benefit structure of Medicare. One of the biggest concerns to the home health care industry and its members is the suggested implementation of a home health copay. Essentially, it would impose a $100 copay on each home health episode not preceded by a hospital or nursing home stay beginning in 2017 and applying to those who become newly eligible for Medicare in 2017 or later.
HMS Healthcare Management Solutions, Inc. (HMS) joins the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) in the opposition to shifting additional costs onto Medicare home health beneficiaries. At a time when our country is focused on decreasing the cost of healthcare services while improving quality outcomes, this new proposed legislation for home health care copays has the potential to redirect care to more expensive settings such as acute care facilities and emergency rooms. The copay will potentially decrease the number of patients who would utilize needed home and community based services. In the 1970’s this type of a “sick tax” on Medicare beneficiaries was abandoned when it was found to be ineffective in saving the Medicare Program money.
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