House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) are negotiating a deal to permanently replace Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. With only a few legislative days left before the SGR patch expires and physician payment cuts kick in, House leadership worked through the weekend to replace the SGR and include other so-called "Medicare extenders," such as the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). VNAA is working in partnership with the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) and the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare (Partnership) to insure that the 3 percent additional payment to rural home health providers is included in the extenders package.
Hill leadership is discussing the use of provider payment cuts to partially pay for the SGR package. The cuts that would impact VNAA members are a one percent reduction to the market basket in 2018 for home health and hospice. The legislation would apply the same cut to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and inpatient rehabilitative facilities (IRF). VNAA, NAHC and the Partnership working together to limit the impact on our members. Negations are ongoing and VNAA expects many twists and turns over the next several days. As you may recall, the last few negotiations failed to result in a permanent fix of SGR and Congress has "patched" SGR 17 times.
VNAA, NAHC and the Partnership are advancing legislative solutions to give our members relief on the documentation requirements for purposes of the Medicare program which includes face-to-face language. However, House leadership is trying to limit additional provisions to keep the deal "clean." VNAA will continue to provide updates as this process continues to change direction multiple times as the March 31 deadline approaches.