Senate Bills Would Lead to More Home and Community-Based Services

Among several bills under consideration to be marked up by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, there could be impications for more access to home-based services in short time.

A number of bipartisan bills are being considered by the senate committee and would likely come as part of a larger Medicare bill, LeadingAge reported this week.

If passed, the combined legislation “would improve access to PACE, adult day services, meal programs, non-emergency transportation, and hospice for more older adults that require skilled care and persons with disabilities,” LeadingAge writes.

The bills currently being marked up include the Community Based Independence for Seniors Act, the PACE Innovations Act and the Medicare Patient Access to Hospice Act. The President’s Budget, still under consideration, also includes measures toward the same effort.

The Community Based Independence for Seniors Act would establish a new special needs plan demonstration program providing for home and community based services; the PACE Innovation Act would allow for PACE expansion to cover those with disabilities who are age 21 to 55 and have a skilled need; currently only those 55 and older are covered; and the Medicare Patient Access to Hospice Act would recognize physicians’ assistants as attending physicians able to service hospice recipients.

Additionally, President Obama’s budget proposal includes a pilot that would expand PACE in some states to include beneficiaries between ages 21 and 55. The proposal also includes home health copays as a measure to cut Medicare costs, and has been opposed by industry groups.

LeadingAge is encouraging members to support the bills that will expand these services.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker