Rebasing Relief Bill Introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives

Congressman Ralph Hall (R-TX) recently introduced the Medicare Home Health Rebasing Relief and Reassessment Act (H.R.4625). The bill seeks to suspend CMS’ flawed rebasing rule for 12 months and require that CMS reassess the rule and submit a report to Congress on alternative rebasing methods, including methods offered by stakeholders. 

The National Association of Home Care and Hospice and the Texas Association for Home Care & Hospice were involved in drafting the legislation and in getting H.R. 4625 introduced. HCAF has pushed for the passage of relief against these unfair and punitive across-the-board cuts to home health and supports this legislation.

In February, Rep. Hall – along with a bipartisan group of his colleagues – sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) urging congressional action to postpone CMS’ Final Rule on home health rebasing and require that CMS re-evaluate the rule.

The letter strongly reinforces the points that HCAF has been stressing since the beginning of the rebasing debate, namely that:

“If this rule is not postponed and appropriately evaluated, according to CMS projections almost half of the home health industry will be paid less than their costs. Current industry data shows that as many as 73% of home health agencies across the country could be out of business when the rule is fully implemented…

The Final Rule…clearly does not take into consideration the appeals made by the U.S. Congress and interested stakeholders. The Final Rule unnecessarily rebases payment rates at the maximum cut permitted under the Affordable Care Act: a cut of -3.5% per year over each of the next 4 years, totaling an unprecedented cut to Medicare home health funding of 14% by 2017…

Urgent action is needed as the Final Rule took effect January 1, 2014.Home health plays an essential role in our health care system by serving the Medicare population with skilled nursing and habilitation services in the least costly setting – the home, and it is imperative that we protect access to care through informed and reasonable rulemaking.”

The February letter outlines – and the legislation that was recently introduced would – provide relief from the rebasing rule while compelling CMS to look at alternative methods of rebasing. 

HCAF strongly encourages all of its members to take a moment to contact their Representatives in the House and ask that they cosponsor this important legislation.  It is especially important to get Democratic lawmakers to sign-on as a cosponsor to maintain a bipartisan balance.

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