The Home Health Planning Improvement Act of 2015 (S.878) was recently introduced in the Senate. The bill seeks to allow healthcare professionals (other than physicians) sign home health plans of care. S.578 will allow physician assistants (PA), nurse practitioners (NP), clinical nurse specialists, and certified nurse midwives to order home health services for Medicare beneficiaries. NPs, PAs, and clinical nurse specialists are currently unable to order less costly and less intrusive home healthcare services, although they are able to perform many other services for Medicare beneficiaries. In order to see these medical professionals as primary care providers, seniors and disabled citizens often require an extra office visit with an unknown physician. The extra visit leads to an extra administrative and paperwork burden and creates an unnecessary step that fails to recognize current training and scope-of-practice guidelines, according to NAHC. As a result of this requirement, patients in need of home healthcare are either place in more expensive care settings or experience delay in receiving the care they need. NAHC strongly supports S.878 and encourages its members to contact their lawmakers to urge them to support the legislation.
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