VNAA Briefs House Democratic Caucus Senior Task Force
At the invitation of the Senior Task Force (STF) Co-Chairs, Rep. Doris Matsui, (D-CA-6) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-9), Visiting Nurse Associations of America (VNAA) provided a briefing to over 15 Members of the House of Representatives, including Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA-34), and more than 30 congressional offices. The focus of the presentation was Medicare Waste, Fraud and Abuse.
The briefing took place at an informal roundtable where presenters gave a brief overview of the issues and interacted with members. Kathleen Sheehan, Vice President of policy for VNAA presented along with panelists Rhonda Richards, senior legislative representative, AARP and Rosemary Gibson, senior advisor to the Hastings Center and editor for JAMA Internal Medicine. Sheehan outlined the value of the benefit for member of the House Democratic Caucus and advocated against devastating rebasing cuts and co-payments. She noted that reports from the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) indicate that ACOs have begun to understand that home health provides high quality care and reduce costs. She also emphasized the characteristics of vulnerable patients served by nonprofit agencies, sharing the results of the VNAA-VNSNY study that showed that 40 percent of episodes for the most vulnerable patients have costs that exceed reimbursement. Lastly, Sheehan addressed access to care and the importance of both post-acute and community admissions.
Rosemary Gibson spoke primarily to the topic of her book, Medicare Meltdown: How Wall Street and Washington are Ruining Medicare, and How to Fix It, on ways in which Congress can help hospitals reduce the costly overuse of Medicare. Rhonda Richards provided an overview of AARP's policies, which includes opposition to home health copayments. She noted that Medicare beneficiaries in need of home health services are likely to be older, sicker and poorer and might forgo necessary home health if there is a copay, which could lead to higher Medicare costs through increased inpatient costs.