Home Health Leaders Commend Congressman Tom Latham for Supporting Reversal of Medicare Home Health Cuts to Protect Aging Senior Population

May 14, 2014
Contact: Emily White

Home Health Leaders Commend Congressman Tom Latham for Supporting Reversal of Medicare Home Health Cuts to Protect Aging Senior Population

Congressman Latham sends ‘Dear Colleague’ letter to Congress highlighting value of home health and negative impacts of Medicare cuts on seniors’ access to care

Washington, DC- The Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare – a leading coalition of home health providers dedicated to improving the integrity, quality, and efficiency of home healthcare for our nation's seniors – today commended Congressman Tom Latham (IA-3) for raising awareness about the value of skilled home health in caring for America’s growing senior population, and the negative consequences of recent Medicare home health cuts that jeopardize the availability of cost-effective, patient preferred care for millions of seniors and threaten thousands of healthcare jobs.

Beginning January 1, the Obama Administration implemented “rebasing” cuts to the Medicare home health benefit as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The cut reduces Medicare home health funding by 3.5 percent annually for the next four years (2014-2017), amounting to a total unprecedented cut of 14 percent to the home health benefit. Due to this cut, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) concedes that “approximately 40 percent” of providers will be driven to net losses by 2017.

In the Congressman’s home state of Iowa, analysis indicates that 43 percent home health agencies will be operating at negative margins once the cut takes full effect, putting care for more than 10,000 seniors and employment of nearly 3,000 home health professionals at risk.

In a May 13 Dear Colleague letter to his fellow lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Latham writes, “These cuts to home health services must be reversed in order to protect seniors' access to skilled home health care, and provide them with the support that they need to stay in their own homes.”

Congressman Latham also points to a recent article in the Des Moines Register that calls attention to America’s aging population and the increased strain on the nation’s healthcare system to care for a growing number of older Americans. The Baby Boom generation is turning 65 at a rate of 10,000 people per day, many of whom will rely heavily on home healthcare to manage chronic conditions and post-acute care recovery and prevent hospital readmissions.

“We thank Congressman Latham for calling attention to the negative impact cuts from the Affordable Care Act are having on the skilled home healthcare community, particularly vulnerable seniors and hardworking healthcare professionals,” stated Eric Berger, CEO of the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare. “We applaud the Congressman and his colleagues for seeking a reversal of these cuts in order to sustain vulnerable seniors' access to clinically advanced, cost effective and patient preferred home healthcare.”

Rep. Latham Dear Colleague Letter >>

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