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The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) Joins Sens. Susan Collins and Bob Casey and Reps. Jim McGovern and Walter Jones in Urging Access to Home Health Care
Date:10/18/2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Senators Susan M. Collins (R-ME) and Robert P. Casey (D-PA) introduced the Home Health Care Access Protection Act of 2007 (S. 2181) today to prevent the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) from imposing dramatic cuts to the Medicare home health program. A companion bill, H.R. 3865, has also been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressmen Jim McGovern (D-3rd-MA) and Walter Jones, Jr. (R-3rd-NC). The cuts, scheduled to take effect January 1, 2008, would likely lead to reduced beneficiary access to services provided by home health care providers. The Senate bill is co-sponsored by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Jack Reed (D-RI) and Christopher Bond (R-MO) and would block the 11.75% cuts to the home health program over four years.

"These proposed administrative cuts would be just devastating," said Sen. Susan Collins. "It is particularly troubling because the Medicare home health benefit has already taken a larger hit in spending cuts over the past ten years than any other Medicare benefit. In fact, home care, as a share of Medicare spending, has dropped from 8.7% in 1997 to only 3.2% today. And it's projected to decline to just 2.6% of Medicare spending in 2015."

"The legislation that we're introducing today will block the administrative cuts that have been proposed by CMS as part of a new regulation that was issued in August. It will also establish a reliable and transparent process for the Department of Health & Human Services to use to justify payment rates," said Sen. Collins. "Home care has specifically been proven to be a compassionate, cost-effective means of delivering essential health services. If these cuts go through, the impact will not just be on the home health agencies; the impact will be most felt by the seniors and disabled citizens. They are the ones who ultimately will be hurt by cuts of this magnitude."

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SOURCE National Association for Home Care & Hospice
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