SAVE Medicare Home Health Act Gains Support in Congress

The Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare, a coalition of home health care providers, has issued further emphasis on supporting legislation that would halt the “arbitrary” 14% cut to the Medicare home health benefit beginning Jan. 1.

The coalition calls for increased support for the Securing Access Via Excellence (SAVE) Medicare Home Health Act, which would repeal the 14%, four-year “rebasing” cut implemented by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

“The legislation halts the arbitrary, across-the-board rebasing cut for years 2015, 2016 and 2017 and replaces them with sustainable hospital readmission reforms that can achieve savings by improving care for Medicare beneficiaries and reducing avoidable health care spending,” the coalition writes in a statement.

If enacted into law, SAVE would enable millions of seniors to remain in their homes, rather than institutional settings, achieving significant savings for the Medicare program, the statement says.

Some current and former members of Congress have expressed their support for the SAVE Medicare Home Health Act, noting that home health cuts would disproportionately affect women.

“The home health care industry is one that is overwhelmingly comprised of women, and as such, it is women who will be disproportionately affected by these onerous cuts,” said Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC). “In addition to the direct impact on patients, there are serious consequences for those who serve this population in a professional capacity.”

An estimated 60% of Medicare home health beneficiaries are women and 90% of registered nurses, occupational therapists, and home health aides are women.

“Who will join these thoughtful, caring Republicans in sponsoring this bill and helping to preserve home healthcare services and jobs for millions of women who would love to spend their elderly years in the warmth and comfort of their own homes, rather than being denied their home healthcare benefits and forced into expensive institutional care?” said former Congressman Billy Tauzin (R-La.).

Written by Emily Study