Home Healthcare Leaders Applaud Senate Finance Committee Effort to Advance Program Integrity Reform

April 30, 2013
Contact: Emily White

Home Healthcare Leaders Applaud Senate Finance Committee Effort to Advance Program Integrity Reform

SFC analysis highlights pro-patient solutions to achieve Medicare savings

Washington, DC — The Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare — a coalition of home health providers dedicated to developing innovative reforms to improve the program integrity, quality, and efficiency of home healthcare for our nation's seniors — today commended Senate Finance Committee leaders for supporting a collaborative effort with the nation's healthcare community to strengthen the integrity of the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), along with Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Tom Carper (D-Del.), released a new analysis outlining policy and legislative recommendations for improving efforts to combat waste, fraud, and abuse, which included proposals developed and supported by the Partnership.

"After working for more than a year to develop program integrity reforms for the Medicare home health benefit, we are encouraged to see many of our proposals highlighted by the Committee," said Eric Berger, CEO of the Partnership. "We are pleased that reforms proposed by the Partnership offered the kinds of solutions the Senators were seeking."

The Summary and Overview of Recommendations released by the Senate Finance Committee includes enrollment process reforms that strengthen admissions standards and temporarily limit new providers in areas of excessive growth. It also includes recommended measures for strengthening existing laws and sanctions such as requiring home health agencies to establish compliance and ethics programs.

These solutions, as well as payment safeguards and other program integrity reforms, were recommended by the Partnership in a June 2012 letter to the Senate Finance Committee. To improve the integrity of the Medicare program, the Partnership's "Skilled Home Health and Integrity Program Savings" (SHHIPS) proposal offers solutions to stop the payment of aberrant claims before they occur and tighten the claims review process and conditions of participation standards. The SHHIPS proposal is based on evidence that fraud and abuse in the home health sector is highly isolated and therefore can be effectively combatted with targeted solutions.

"Not only can program integrity reform achieve immediate savings, skilled home healthcare can offer substantial value in reducing treatment costs now and over the long term," added Berger. "We are grateful to these Senators and their many colleagues across Capitol Hill who are seeking to achieve significant Medicare savings without impacting innocent seniors or efficient providers."

The Partnership is a charter member of Fight Fraud First!, a coalition of leading advocacy organizations representing millions of older Americans, persons with disabilities, minorities, veterans and healthcare providers founded on the principle that eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in the Medicare program should be prioritized over beneficiary cost increases and across-the-board cuts.

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