Archive for the ‘Call to Action’ Category

HOME CARE INDUSTRY PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR FLORIDA MEDICAID EXPANSION

April 21, 2015

HCAF Logo
PRESS RELEASE
April 21, 2015
For Immediate Release
Contact: Leanne Norr
(850) 222-8967
LNorr@homecarefla.org

HOME CARE INDUSTRY PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR FLORIDA MEDICAID EXPANSION

HCAF Urges Governor, Legislature to Act Swiftly


TALLAHASSEE, FL- 
On April 2nd, The Florida Senate passed the Florida Health Insurance Affordability Exchange Program that would accept federal funds under the Affordable Care Act to establish a state-run private insurance exchange for low-income residents. The Home Care Association of Florida, representing more than 2,000 licensed home health agencies that serve more than 150,000 Floridians on any given day, strongly supports the proposed plan to expand Medicaid in Florida.

HCAF President, Anthony Clarizio, made the following statement:

 

“Expanding Medicaid to 800,000 state residents who have jobs but cannot afford health coverage is not only a moral imperative, but is the only viable option to address basic health care for those who need it most.

 

“The home care industry, which provides care for 150,000 Floridians per day, plays an integral role in giving expanded quality care to an ever-growing population, all while saving the state money. Caring for patients at home is not only more cost-effective than institutional care, but also decreases hospital readmission rates. Expanding Medicaid would mean that home care providers could service more patients, saving both the government and patients millions of dollars.  

“Florida’s home care agencies are prepared to provide cost-effective, high-quality care to this expanded Medicaid population. The Home Care Association urges lawmakers to put partisan politics aside and provide the support our patients so desperately need.”   

Home Care providers across the Sunshine State also speak out in support of Medicaid expansion:

“Our company performs large percentage of personal care visits in the home for Medicaid patients in the statewide Long Term Care program. The insurance companies involved have reduced prices but assured the quality remains the same. With that reality, Medicaid in Florida has earned the right to grow. Through our company we have seen how expanding Medicaid will save money over all, and we support it.”

-Sean Schwinghammer, Director of Legislative Affairs & Business Development, Caring Home Care

“Medicaid expansion for the State of Florida will increase access to quality care for thousands of under-served Floridians. It is in the best interest of our state to consider Medicaid expansion as a viable option to allow for improving our overall community health and wellness and allow Medicaid patients to receive care support services in the comfort of their own homes.”

               -Bobbie D’Angola, Executive Management, United HomeCare

“Expanding Medicaid in Florida would not only mean that my agency could expand and thrive, but it would also mean that the overall quality of care for patients would increase. In an industry already stifled by government red tape and costly regulations, expanding Medicaid would be a step towards providing the relief our home care agency so desperately needs. There are not enough providers in the state to meet the needs of this under-served population and by expanding Medicaid the patients would receive the care they need. Patients deserve to be at the center of health care in Florida. Expanding Medicaid would significantly increase access to more patients right in the comfort of their own homes.”

-Denise Bellville, RN, SVP of Operations, Comprehensive Home Care

Background on Home Health and Medicaid:

  • AARP reports that on average, the Medicaid program can provide home and community-based long term care services(HCBS) to three people for the cost of serving one person in a nursing home.
  • AARP reports that states that invest in HCBS, over time, slow their rate of Medicaid spending growth, compared to states that remain reliant on nursing homes.

Click here for HCAF’s 2015 Legislative Priorities, including telehealth expansion and expanding prescription practices for ARNPs.

About HCAF

The Home Care Association of Florida is the #1 resource & advocate for Florida’s home care industry & patients, representing more than 2,000 licensed home health agencies that serve more than 150,000 Floridians on any given day right in the comfort of their homes. HCAF was founded in January 1989 & is a non-profit trade association that offers representation, communication & advocacy for providers, and gives them the information they need to deliver the highest quality & most cost-effective services to patients throughout the Sunshine State.

About Home Care

Home care encompasses a wide range of health and social services delivered at home to recovering, disabled, chronically or terminally ill persons in need of medical, nursing, social, or therapeutic treatment and/or assistance with the essential activities of daily living. Generally, home care is appropriate whenever a person prefers to stay at home but needs ongoing care that cannot easily or effectively be provided solely by family and friends.

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Home Care Urged to Ramp Up Grassroots Campaign over Congressional Recess

August 7, 2013

act-nowThe summer recess for the House of Representatives and Senate runs through September 9. This provides many opportunities for home care and hospice grassroots action back in the state and districts over the recess.

When Congress returns it will have to address a number of contentious issues, including further efforts to find alternatives to the sequester, fund the government for the next fiscal year beginning October 1, raise the debt limit, reduce the deficit and find offsets for the cost of fixing the flawed Medicare physician payment formula before the end of the year.

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, the Congressional Budget Office, the Bowles-Simpson Deficit Reduction Commission, and the President’s proposed budget have suggested home health and hospice payment cuts and copays for deficit reduction and/or offsetting the cost of the physician payment fix. The home care and hospice community will have to ramp up its efforts during the recess and beyond to protect the home health and hospice benefits from payment cuts and copays.

Home care and hospice advocates should also raise other important issues over the recess, such as:

  • Revising the proposed Medicare home health rebasing rule to ensure payments are adequate to protect access to care;
  • Reducing home health face-to-face physician encounter documentation requirements;
  • Reforming the hospice face-to-face requirement and establishing hospice payment demonstration program (Hospice Evaluation and Legitimate Payment Act (S.1053; H.R.2302);
  • Allowing nurse practitioners and physician assistants to sign home health plans of care (The Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act (S.1332; H.R.2504));
  • Providing incentives for telehomecare (The Fostering Independence through Technology Act (S.596));
  • Preserving the companionship services exemption from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act;
  • Modifying the employer responsibilities in the Affordable Care Act to address home care specific needs.

Sample letters and talking points for these issues are available here.

During the recess, HCAF & NAHC are urging its members and their friends, family, and co-workers to speak out as loudly and forcefully as possible. This is also a good time to thank those members of Congress who have taken a stand against home care and hospice payment cuts and copays.

Following are suggested grassroots action steps over the recess:

  • Attend a town hall meeting held by your members of Congress.
  • Pose specific questions to your members of Congress on where they stand on home care and hospice issues.
  • Schedule face-to-face meetings with your members of Congress.
  • Invite a member of Congress out on a home care visit — get the media to come along if possible.
  • Attend a candidate fundraiser for a member of Congress and speak with him or her personally.
  • Submit a letter to the editor or op-ed piece to the local newspaper.
  • Call in to a talk radio station and initiate dialogue on home care and hospice.
  • Use online social networks such as Twitter and Facebook to discuss home care and hospice concerns.
  • Contact your state’s governor and ask for support for home care and hospice.
  • Send a message to all employees of your organization asking them to get involved and to write messages to members of Congress through the Legislative Action Network.
  • Send a message to all board members of your home health agency or hospice asking them to get involved and to write messages to members of Congress through the Legislative Action Network.
  • Send a message to your past and current patients and ask that they contact Congress through the Legislative Action Network.
  • Send a message to physicians who care for your patients asking them to get involved and to write messages to members of Congress through the Legislative Action Network.
  • Contact community groups such as local AARP chapters, senior citizen centers, and disease support groups explaining threatened home care and hospice cuts and copays and ask that they send messages to Congress for support of home care and hospice through the Legislative Action Network.
  • Contact religious groups explaining threatened home care and hospice cuts and copays and ask that they send messages to Congress through the Legislative Action Network.
  • Contact health care officials such as hospital administrators and explain threatened home care and hospice cuts and copays, asking them to send a message to Congress through the Legislative Action Network.
  • Spread the word on using the Legislative Action Network to help fight home care and hospice cuts and copays through a message to your email contacts urging them to send to at least 10 more individuals.
  • Invite your representative to join the House Home Health Caucus.

WHAT TO DO TODAY

For today’s suggested grassroots action step: Plan to attend a congressional town hall meeting.

  • Go to your Congress member’s website to see if his/her recess schedule is published.
  • If a schedule isn’t published on the website, call his or her local office and inquire as to when the lawmaker(s) will be making public appearances.
  • Review the talking points/issue briefs on the Legislative Action Network.
  • Bring as many home care and hospice advocates with you as you can get.
  • Speak out at a town hall meeting about the importance of preserving access to home care and hospice and urge your representative and senators to oppose home care and hospice cuts and copays.

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Senators Circulate Dear Colleague Letter Urging Support of the FITT Act

June 17, 2013

Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), recently circulated a Dear Colleague letter asking their colleagues to support the Fostering Independence Through Technology (FITT) Act, S. 596. Senators Thune and Klobuchar are the FITT Act’s lead sponsors.

In their letter, Senators Thune and Klobuchar state that:

“Remote monitoring, a form of telehealth, uses non-invasive sensors to monitor the health and well-being of seniors in their home and can prevent the premature or unnecessary placements in more expensive types of long term care facilities…This bipartisan, budget neutral legislation would establish a pilot program under the Medicare program to provide incentives for home health agencies to utilize remote monitoring technology. We believe that using this type of technology in the home would reduce the number of visits by home health aides and allow individuals to remain in their homes longer while still providing quality care.” (more…)

AARP Encourages its Members to Speak Out Against Medicare Home Health Copays

June 11, 2013

The AARP recently encouraged its members to “speak up now about the future of Medicare” by writing their elected officials in opposition to the reintroduction of copayments for home health care to Medicare, as well as other initiatives that the 37 million-member strong organization sees as harmful to the future of Medicare.

“”It’s important for NAHC members to remember that even though we face many challenges, we are not in this fight alone,” said NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris. “The AARP is also encouraging their members to take action to preserve Medicare and oppose the reintroduction of home health copays.” (more…)

Ask the Obama Administration to Exempt Home Care Providers from the PPACA Employer Mandate Requirements

May 3, 2013

Please sign an industry-sponsored petition on The White House website if you feel in-home care services should be exempt from the Employer Mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act. This petition was just created and needs 100,000 signatures within the next 30 days in order to get the attention of the President and Congress. So far just over 1,000 signatures have been received.

Click here to take action by signing the petition now!

Quarterly Report Bill Passes Florida Senate 34-0

April 26, 2013

With five days to go in the Florida Legislative Session, HCAF’s bill to reduce the quarterly report fine and exempt private duty providers passed the Senate this morning 34-0. The bill will be voted on in the House of Representatives next week, after which it will go to Gov. Rick Scott for his signature.

Lawmakers are now crafting the budget, so now is the time to contact them to urge their support for increasing reimbursement rates! Click here to take action!

Home Health Patient Monitoring Bill Gaining Steam in Congress

April 23, 2013

The bipartisan Fostering Independence Through Technology (FITT) Act – S. 596 – which was introduced by Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) last month now has two additional cosponsors. Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Al Franken (D-MN) are now also supporting the bill. The legislation would expand the use of telehealth technology under Medicare to reduce hospital re-admissions in rural and underserved communities across the country. (more…)

Legislative Session Winding Down: Ask Lawmakers to Support Home Care!

April 18, 2013

The Florida Legislature will adjourn its annual legislative session on May 3, and lawmakers are currently preparing the 2013-14 budget. Medicaid home health reimbursement rates have not increased since 1987, and this is the first year in a handful of years that state revenues are in the black.

HCAF has proposed a 50% increase for Medicaid home health visits and a 15% increase for Medicaid private duty nursing services. The cost to the state is $9,136,110 – no small number, but the savings that home care can provide to the state far exceeds that figure. (more…)

Quarterly Report Reform Bill Clears Legislative Committees

April 18, 2013

This morning, HCAF’s quarterly report reform bill unanimously passed its final committee stop in the Florida Legislature. The bill now proceeds to the floor of the Senate and House of Representatives, its two final stops before going to Gov. Rick Scott for signature. If passed into law, the bill will reduce the quarterly report fine from $5,000 to $200 per day up to $5,000 per quarter and exempt private duty agencies.

Now is the time to get your lawmakers’ support for this critical bill! Click here to send your lawmakers an email encouraging their support.

Obama Budget Calls for Home Health Copayments

April 11, 2013

act-nowPresident Obama yesterday released his proposed budget for the 2014 fiscal year, which calls for a copayment for home health services of $100 per home health episode. The copay would apply to episodes with 5 or more visits not preceded by a hospital or post-acute care stay for new beneficiaries in 2017 and thereafter. Obama’s budget proposal comes after Congress announced proposed budgets last month which do not call for a copay.

If enacted, the President’s copay would reduce Medicare payments for home health services by $60 million over 5 years and $730 million over 10 years. Click here to review a side-by-side comparison of budget proposals from the President, Congress and the Simpson-Bowles Commission (which called for a 20% uniform copay). (more…)