Federal Cuts to Home Health Funding May Be Coming

seniors-face-higher-costs-on-medicaid-cutsFederal Medicare cuts may be on their way if CMS (The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) is able to “rebase” home health funding and cut other revenue within the system. These cuts may result in a 14% overall reduction to Medicare home health payments, causing negative Medicare margins in most U.S. States.

Seniors should be absolutely up in arms about these potential spending cuts as they may put small business operators out of service and greatly reduce the amount of home care services that are functioning in their community. This will greatly reduce choice, reliability, and quality in the services provided under the current home health funding system.

The government agency that oversees Medicare has proposed across-the-board cuts to home health care payments, which are today confronting the 3.5 million seniors who receive skilled home health care services each year.

On the heels of funding reductions totaling 22 per­cent since 2009, which amount to $72.5 billion over 10 years, Medicare home health payments are again on the chopping block.

The Centers for Medicare and Medic­aid Services, or CMS, is proposing to “rebase” home health funding at a rate set at the maximum level allowed by law, in addition to a host of other revenue cutting changes.

Analyses show these cuts will result in a 14 percent overall reduction to Medicare home health payments. Such drastic cuts will cause 47 out of 50 states, including Pennsylvania, to soon have negative Medicare margins.

In total, when coupled with cuts already underway, Medicare home health will experience $100 billion in cuts over 10 years.

Recently, Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, acting as chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, sent a letter to the CMS expressing concern for the proposed 14 percent cut to Medicare home health.

Similarly, a bipartisan group of 142 members of Congress recently sent a letter to CMS urging a more complete analysis of the proposed rule as well as its impact on beneficiaries and small businesses.

In September, the U.S. Small Business Administration expressed similar concerns in a letter to CMS that the proposed rule underestimates the impact the rebasing cuts will have on the nation’s small home health agencies.

Advocates for senior citizens including AARP as well as organizations representing physicians, nurses and veterans also have spoken out publicly about the impact of such deeps cuts on the nation’s vulnerable home health patient population.

The value of home health care to the Medicare program cannot be understated. As more seniors require care, we must be poised to provide the most clinically effective care in the most cost effective setting. As the Obama administration and Congress work toward improving health care delivery in America, home health care must be supported — not abated.

Reach out to your local representatives and let them know that cutting home health funding is not in your interests. Let them know that CMS needs to re-evaluate their position and analysis as it pertains to the of home care for seniors.

For more information about Home Health Care and Skilled Nursing contact us or call (267) 288-5496

Source: NOLA

About Time: New Fair Labor Rule Gives Home Care Workers Get Wage Protection

Home Health Aide Makes a Bed For A PatientWell its about time. We have always prided ourselves on paying our home care workers and home health aides (HHA) above market rates, but apparently greed gets in the way for other companies. So we are pleased to announce that the Obama administration will no longer allow that practice, making minimum wage laws apply to home care workers, like the rest of the work force.

Until this rule, home care workers were compared to babysitters, who do not fall under the Fair Wage and Standards Act’s minimum wage policies. This distinction comes at an important time with home care workers on the rise as seniors who need in-home assistance rise. In our opinion, the work our home health aides do is much harder and more labor intensive than a babysitter. We are happy this administration finally sees it our way and makes the distinction.

The Obama administration announced on Tuesday that it was extending minimum wage and overtime protections to the nation’s nearly two million home care workers.

Advocates for low-wage workers have pushed for this change, asserting that home care workers, who care for elderly and disabled Americans, were wrongly classified into the same “companionship services” category as baby sitters — a group that is exempt from minimum wage and overtime coverage. Under the new rule, home care aides, unlike baby sitters, would be covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the nation’s main wage and hour law.

In an unusual move, the administration said the new regulation would not take effect until Jan. 1, 2015, even though regulations often take effect 60 days after being issued. The delay until 2015 is to give families that use these attendants, as well as state Medicaid programs, time to prepare.

Sadly, the new regulation will not take effect until Jan 1, 2015. Which still gives these underpaying companies time to skirt under the law. But a change is coming, and we are happy to see it. 

For more information about becoming a Home Health Aide or to hire a Home Health Aide in the Philadelphia area, Bucks County, and/or Montgomery County, please contact Forever Young Home Health Care at info@foreveryoungPA.com or (267) 288-5496.

Source: New York Times

Source: Department of Labor