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Medicare Policies Ignore Aging-at-Home Concept
Date:5/24/2010

WASHINGTON, May 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- At a town hall meeting a year ago, President Obama said that home-based care could play a major role in controlling Medicare costs by keeping older people out of more expensive institutional care.  "I actually think homecare ends up being cost-efficient in many cases rather than institutional care, and it helps keep people in their homes," the president told his audience in the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights last July.

In March, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) agreed with the president, declaring that "homecare is a major part of the solution in terms of cost-effectiveness" and adding that with the explosive growth in the nation's older population, "homecare is going to be vital."  

But their voices aren't being heard. The Medicare program doesn't seem to agree with their assessment: while key public officials embrace the aging-at-home concept, the government has been moving in the opposite direction.    

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which oversees the Medicare program, continues to advocate for policies and regulations that will restrict patient access to medical equipment, such as power wheelchairs and oxygen, which is critical to allowing patients to age with dignity in their homes.  These policies have been adopted despite research from a variety of sources that document significant financial and patient benefits.

Even the recently-enacted healthcare reform legislation follows this disturbing trend by eliminating an option allowing a Medicare beneficiary to purchase a power wheelchair in the first month that the product is prescribed. Many providers, particularly i
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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