VNAA submits comments to congressional committees
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
by: VNAA Policy Team

Section: Public Policy and Advocacy

On Aug. 19, VNAA submitted comments in response to a request for information issued by the joint congressional committees of health care jurisdiction. The letter, released June 19, invited VNAA and other post-acute providers and stakeholders to submit comments on ways to address substantial variations in Medicare spending, utilization, quality and profit margins within the post-acute care (PAC) sector.

VNAA’s response focused on four areas:

  1. Underscoring the value of home health care as a potential cornerstone of future post-acute care delivery models;
  2. Policy solutions for current challenges in the Medicare home health care delivery system;
  3. Providing input on specific post-acute policy issues raised in the committees’ letter; and
  4. Sharing comments on current home health policy changes under consideration by policymakers.
VNAA proposed a new framework for home health services for congressional leaders to consider. VNAA advanced the concept of home health as key to both preventive and post-acute care services to improve quality and outcomes and keep health care costs down. VNAA’s specific proposals included: 

  • “Deem” home health care the recommended placement for patients discharged from a hospital and in need of skilled care, unless effective and appropriate assessment tools indicate that a patient requires a more intensive level of care. Through the deeming process, provide greater flexibility in the number of days in a home health episode to allow care to be better tailored to the medical and support needs of certain patient groups.
  • Promote the use of community admissions to home health care services as a way to effectively treat chronic diseases at home and avoid hospitalizations for Medicare beneficiaries.
  • Eliminate the homebound requirement for Medicare home health and expand the flexibility and range of home health care services to more closely resemble cost-effective Medicaid home and community-based services.
  • Provide funding and support for nonprofit home health agencies to expand use of telehealth and health information technology.
  • Increase “program integrity” through aggressive efforts aimed at reducing waste fraud and abuse.

Click here to read VNAA’s full comments.

To read the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committee letter, please click here.
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