Posts Tagged ‘copays’

South Florida Congressman Visits Key West Constituent Receiving Medicare Home Health Care Services

July 30, 2013

JoeGarciaOfficialHeadshotBy Terry Schmida, Key West Citizen

A sign on the wall of Rene Stincer’s handsome wood-frame home on Eaton Street declares it to be “Villa de Olga.” However, the pronouncement is a bit out of date: Olga, Stincer’s wife for many decades, died five years ago, leaving her husband, now 91, all alone.

As the city of Key West continues to debate the assisted living center issue, it’s residents such as Stincer who are the human faces behind the headlines.

“It’s better for me to stay in this house,” Stincer said Friday during a brief visit from U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, D-South Florida, Island Home Care owner/operator Kim Wilkerson, clinical director and registered nurse Heather Hunt and Stincer family friend Theresa Menendez. (more…)

House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health Holds Hearing on Medicare Benefit Redesign

June 28, 2013

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health recently held a hearing that looked at ways to redesign the Medicare benefit. The hearing’s witnesses were: Katherine Baicker, Ph.D.Professor, Health Economics, Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health; Thomas P. Miller, J.D., Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute, and; Patricia Neuman, ScD., M.S., Senior Vice President, Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

The National Association of Home Care & Hospice submitted testimony for the hearing, emphasizing the organization’s commitment to preserving the Medicare benefit without placing more financial responsibility on the backs of the program’s beneficiaries – particularly through the misguided idea to reintroduce the Medicare home health copayment. (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…)

Senior Groups Send Letter Opposing President’s Home Health Copay Proposal

May 14, 2013

In response to the President’s proposed FY 2014 budget, the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations recently sent a letter to the President and Congressional leadership that included strong opposition to the President’s proposal to impose a home health copayment.

The LCAO is a 68-member coalition of national organizations, including the National Association for Home Care & Hospice that is concerned with the wellbeing of America’s older populations and is committed to representing their interests in the policy-making arena. The President’ proposed budget submitted to Congress included a provision that would impose a $100 copay on home health episodes not preceded by a hospital or nursing home stay, beginning in 2017 for new Medicare beneficiaries. (more…)

Home Health Medicare Co-Pay: A Study in Unintended Consequences

April 23, 2013

By Robert A. Book and Doug Holtz-Eakin, Forbes

The budget that President Obama submitted to Congress last week contains a call for, among other things, an increase of $1.4 billion in discretionary spending for the administrative expenses related to implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). In a budget that claims to reduce the deficit, where is all this money coming from?

Some of it – $730 million – is supposed to come from instituting $100 co-payments for Medicare patients who use home health care. Home health care is primarily for patients who need frequent care that requires the attention of a physical, occupational, or speech therapist, or a nurse on a part-time basis, but does not require the patient to be hospitalized. The patients are homebound, and have difficulty accessing outpatient care in the usual settings. In fact, home health care is a significant factor in keeping patients out of the hospital. (more…)

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…)

Senior Groups Submit Testimony Opposing Home Health Copays

April 11, 2013

The Leadership Council of Aging Organizations, a coalition of national organizations representing over 60 million older Americans, recently submitted written testimony to the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health opposing the imposition of Medicare home health and hospice copayments. The National Association for Home Care & Hospice is a member of the LCAO. (more…)

MedPAC Calls on Congress to Reform the Medicare Home Health Benefit

March 21, 2013

medpac-dataThe Medicare Payment Advisory Commission last week submitted recommendations to Congress calling for major changes to the Medicare home health benefit, including accelerated rebasing of Medicare home health reimbursement rates and a per-episode copay. MedPAC is required to annually review Medicare payment policies and make recommendations to Congress.

MedPAC also called for medical review activities in counties with excessive utilization of home health services, including Miami-Dade County, and revision of the case-mix system for therapy and non-therapy services.

MedPAC found that in 2011, about 3.4 million Medicare beneficiaries received home care, and the program spent about $18.4 billion on home health services. That figure has swelled in comparison to the 7,528 agencies in operation in 2000, which totaled $8.5 billion in spending. The number of agencies participating in Medicare reached 12,199 in 2011, including Florida’s 1,001 certified agencies, which account for 8.2% of the nation’s agencies. The number of agencies continues to increase, with over 700 new agencies in 2011, most of which were for-profit agencies concentrated in a few states. Some good news: MedPAC found that quality of care provided was steady or showed a small improvement in measures of beneficiary function. (more…)

How Obama Plans to Save Medicare

March 12, 2013

By Tami Luhby, CNN

The White House often says President Obama has a plan for reforming entitlements, particularly Medicare.

However, the specifics of that proposal don’t spring to mind as easily as the reforms being bandied about in Republican circles, such as providing seniors with vouchers to pay for premiums or raising the retirement age.

That’s partly because Obama last laid out his reforms in February 2012 as part of his budget proposal. The president did little more than touch on these plans on the campaign trail last year and again in last month’s State of the Union address.

But as policy makers dig in for an extended battle on deficit reduction, Obama’s Medicare reform plans are likely to get a lot more attention soon. Rep. Paul Ryan is expected to release his budget, which will update the GOP’s proposals to rein in health care spending on the elderly, on Tuesday.

The president’s plan focuses mainly on reducing payments to drug companies and hospitals, though he would also raise revenue by asking wealthy seniors and new beneficiaries to pay more. All told, his reforms would cut health care spending by $400 billion, according to updated estimates by the White House.

Here’s are some of the key things that Obama would do: (more…)

Call to Action: Medicare Cuts Likely to Come March 1

February 12, 2013

By , FierceHealthcare

Act Now - Red Button

Providers face another fiscal cliff. In only a few weeks, automatic budget cuts are set to go into effect unless Congress acts to delay or permanently fix the mandated sequestration cuts. On March 1, Medicare will reduce reimbursements by two percent, ending the two-month extension and temporary relief providers got from the New Year deal.

But according to reports, this is one fiscal cliff that Congress may go over. Though Congress and Obama didn’t intend to implement the reductions agreed on in 2011, pundits content the cuts will go into effect anyway, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Some GOP members say they would rather see the automatic cuts than another short-term fix. (more…)