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Home health service cuts will hurt seniors

Published by The Des Moines Register
Diane Larson
May 26, 2014

I commend Congressman Tom Latham for raising awareness about the value of skilled home health care for America's growing senior population and calling attention among his colleagues in Congress to the negative consequences of recent Medicare home health cuts.

A new Medicare cut reducing payment for home health by 14 percent over the next four years went into effect earlier this year, putting skilled home health care for vulnerable seniors across Iowa at severe risk. More than 24,000 Iowa seniors depend on home health each year for skilled health care services in their homes, which is delivered by more than 6,600 health care professionals, many of whom are employed by independent home health businesses that cannot withstand a Medicare cut of this level.

In Iowa, estimates indicate that nearly 44 percent of home health agencies will be forced to operate with negative margins by the time the cut takes full effect. If nearly half of our state's home health agencies close, it will inevitably affect the availability of cost-effective, patient preferred care for Iowa's home health seniors.

I stand with Latham in urging lawmakers in Washington to reverse these harmful Medicare cuts to protect seniors' access to home health so they can remain at home as they age.

Diane Larson, R.N., B.S.N., Des Moines

See the original article here.

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