Home Health & Hospice

Rebasing relief bill introduced in the House

Homecare Insider, May 19, 2014

Congressman Ralph Hall (R-TX) recently introduced the Medicare Home Health Rebasing Relief and Reassessment Act (H.R.4625). The bill seeks to suspend what the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) deems the “flawed” rebasing rule finalized by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) last November. Specifically, Hall calls for a 12-month suspension and urges CMS to reassess the rule, as well as to submit a report to Congress on alternative rebasing methods. 
 
The final rule, which took effect January 1, is set to cut Medicare home health payments by the maximum amount permitted by the rebasing provision in the Affordable Care Act: 3.5% annually from 2014 to 2017, totaling a 14% slash over the next four years.
 
NAHC and the Texas Association for Home Care & Hospice were involved in drafting the legislation. To garner support for the bill, NAHC is urging its members to contact government officials.
 
In February, Rep. Hall sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stressing that congressional action should be taken against the final rule: “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,” the letter said. “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.”