Immediate Action Needed: Contact Members of Congress on Home Health Rebasing Relief Legislation
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
by: VNAA Advocacy Team

Section: Public Policy and Advocacy




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In the next 24 hours, Congress will make important decisions regarding the fate of a "home health rebasing relief" amendment that would postpone home health rebasing for a year. Providers across the county have agreed that this amendment, while not perfect, would provide an essential time period to study the effects of rebasing, to influence policymakers, and to ensure access to home health for another year.

The amendment would also require a study to re-examine and possibly reduce the 3.5 percent rebasing cut in the final rule. To pay for the one year delay, the outlier fund would be reduced from 2.5 percent to 2.0 percent. If the study results do not result in a reduced rebasing cut, rebasing would move forward with 7 percent being cut for 2015 rates and a cut of 3.5 percent for both 2016 and 2017.

Who to Contact:
Both the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee are preparing “patch legislation” to stop deep cuts in physician reimbursement scheduled to take place under the Sustainable Growth Rate (SBR) process.

A member of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) has committed to offering the home health amendment. We hope that a member of the House Ways and Means committee will also step forward to either include the home health rebasing relief amendment in their SGR patch or include it through an amendment. VNAA and other national organizations lobbied members of Congress to legislate a one year postponement of home health rebasing.

If your district has a member of Congress on one of these committees, it is urgent that you contact them and ask them to support the home health rebasing amendment. Use the direct links below to check and see who is on these key committees.

Senate Finance Committee

House Ways and Means Committee Members

Given the urgency of this matter, please reach out to your member of Congress as soon as possible. The most effective way to reach members of Congress and their staff is via email. You may already have the names and email addresses of key staff. If you do not, go to the www.VNAA.org and click on Contact Congress. A message on home health rebasing is already posted – you just need to add the text above to your message. You can follow up your email with a phone call using the Capitol Hill switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

Message:

SUBJECT : Support 1 Year Postponement of Home Health Rebasing in SGR Patch

I am writing to strongly urge you to support a one year postponement of home health rebasing in the SGR patch legislation currently being considered. The 3.5 percent cuts to the Medicare home health benefit scheduled to take place on Jan. 1, 2014 will mean that access to the home health benefit will be further limited for many who need it the most.

Many of the most vulnerable patients that my nonprofit agency serves will not be able to access the Medicare home health benefit but will instead be sent to high cost institutional settings. The effects of this change in care will harm both patients and providers alike.

Further analysis needs to be done so that rebasing cuts do not impede access to care. I ask for your support for a one year postponement of home health rebasing in the SGR patch legislation currently under consideration.

KEEP VNAA INFORMED OR GET MORE HELP:

If you need help, please contact Kathleen Sheehan at (202) 591-5319.

If you receive feedback from congressional staff, please either call or send an email to ksheehan@vnaa.org.

Thank you for lending your voice to this issue.

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