HCAF coordinated a home care visit this week with Congresswoman Kathy Castor and Gentiva Health Services in Tampa. Rep. Castor, a Democrat who has represented Tampa in Congress since 2007, serves on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over health care, including Medicare, and long-term services and supports.
The visit highlighted the personalized and professional care that the home health care industry provides to more than 300,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Florida each year. She observed home health services being provided to an elderly married couple. The 89-year-old husband suffers from chronic kidney disease, anemia, severe weakness and congestive heart failure. His weak state has rendered him homebound to avoid infections and falls. His 87-year-old wife has dementia related to Alzheimer’s Disease. Her husband is her primary caregiver.
Congresswoman Castor witnessed a physical therapist working with the husband and a personal care aide (non-Medicare) tending to his wife as she ate breakfast. Without home health, undoubtedly this couple would be forced to live in a more expensive institutional setting such as a nursing home. On her Facebook page, Congresswoman Castor wrote:
“I visited with a lovely couple yesterday who, thanks to Medicare home care provisions, are able to spend their golden years together in the home they’ve lived in for decades rather than in a medical establishment or nursing home. I will never stop advocating on behalf of our greatest generation or the families that care for them.”
HCAF arranged this visit at a perilous time for the Medicare home health benefit. Congress is looking for ways to reduce federal spending, and a copay as well as accelerated rebasing and additional cuts are on the table, all of which were explained to the Congresswoman Castor after she asked if the industry felt as if it has a target on its back. As a supporter of the home care industry, Congresswoman Castor volunteered her voice when needed to ensure that Floridians continue to have access to high quality, cost effective home health services under the Medicare benefit. Click here to tell Congress that our industry cannot sustain additional cuts, and that copays would be adversely impact access to home care!
HCAF’s ongoing advocacy efforts have helped improve the image of and increase awareness about the home care industry. HCAF is appreciative of Gentiva Health Services and its clinicians for their support for HCAF and for making this home care visit a tremendous success!