Home Health Leaders Thank Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers for Stressing "Detrimental" Consequences of Obamacare Home Health Medicare Cuts

House GOP Conference policy brief details impact of Medicare home health rebasing cuts on vulnerable seniors, women, and home healthcare professionals

Mar 13, 2014, 12:00 ET from Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare

WASHINGTON, March 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare – a leading coalition of home health providers dedicated to improving the integrity, quality, and efficiency of home healthcare for our nation's seniors – today thanked Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-5) for calling attention to the "detrimental" impact Obamacare's Medicare home health rebasing cut will have on our nation's most vulnerable seniors.

In a recent Fox News op-ed, McMorris Rodgers writes, "ObamaCare is not just an unpopular policy.  It's a detrimental one – especially to seniors.  With nearly $22 billion in cuts to Medicare's home health services, the most vulnerable seniors – nearly 3.5 million of them – will be hit the hardest."

As part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), funding for the Medicare home health benefit was cut by an unprecedented 14 percent cut over four years (2014-2017) - the maximum allowable by law.  Such a deep funding cut, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), will drive "approximately 40 percent" of providers to net losses by 2017.  Avalere Health's analysis of the ACA cut reveals that more than half (57.7%) of the home health agencies in the Congresswoman's home State of Washington will suffer net operating losses by 2017.

Last week, the House GOP Conference, of which Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers is the Chair, issued a policy brief entitled, Medicare Home Health Benefits, CMS Cuts to the Program: What Does it Mean for Seniors and Women?, which details the impact of the Obamacare home health rebasing cut on the vulnerable home health patient population and largely female patient, workforce and family caregiver populations.

The policy brief highlights newly-released data from Avalere Health and Dobson DaVanzo & Associates showing more than 60 percent of Medicare home health beneficiaries are women.  An estimated 90 percent of registered nurses, occupational therapists, and home health aides – professionals that are commonly employed by home health agencies – are women.  Avalere Health analysis also reveals that the Medicare beneficiaries who receive home health services are older, poorer, sicker and more likely to be minorities than the rest of the Medicare beneficiary population.

"We thank Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers for taking a stand against Obamacare cuts that are going to unfairly harm our nation's seniors, particularly women who make up the majority of home health patients, clinicians and family caregivers," said Eric Berger, CEO of the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare.  "Thanks to Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers and her colleagues in Congress, the devastating effects of the Obamacare home health cut are being recognized and addressed. We applaud them for considering much-needed relief to the Medicare program's frailest patients and home healthcare professionals across our nation."

Across Washington, nearly 41,000 seniors receive the Medicare home health benefit, which is widely recognized as clinically advanced, cost effective and patient preferred.

The Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare was established to assist government officials in ensuring access to skilled home healthcare services for seniors and disabled Americans. Representing community- and hospital-based home healthcare agencies across the United States, the Partnership is dedicated to developing innovative reforms to improve the quality, efficiency and integrity of home healthcare. To learn more, visit www.homehealth4america.org. To join the home healthcare policy conversation, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and our blog.


SOURCE Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare