May is Older Americans Month, a time to celebrate the contributions older Americans make in their communities. The theme this year is “Age Out Loud.” It’s a time to empower America’s seniors to speak up about what it means to get older.
More than ever before, older Americans are working longer, pursuing new opportunities, and living more independent lives. For many, being able to remain at home when recovering from illness or injury is crucial to maintaining that independence. As we encourage seniors to speak out this month, we must remember what they have already told us. Data show 89% of seniors want to age in place! And thanks to Medicare home healthcare, more than 3.5 million older Americans are now able to do just that.
Yet, there is still much work to do to ensure that Medicare home health remains a viable option for America’s seniors. This year, the Partnership will continue to work with Congress and the Administration towards realizing our 2017 priorities. We will press CMS and Congress to improve the Pre-Claim Review Demonstration before it is applied to home healthcare delivery, so patients who need home healthcare aren’t improperly denied or delayed care. We will work to streamline existing face-to-face documentation rules so physicians and home health providers aren’t burdened with unnecessary paperwork, and we will fight to extend the Medicare rural safeguard payment so patients in remote communities don’t lose access to vital services.
Older Americans Month is a perfect time to reflect on how the culture of aging is changing, and how more seniors are living healthier, happier more dignified lives. This month, let’s remember how vital home healthcare is to maintaining that dignity, and have a conversation about how to strengthen it for everyone.