As the nation stares down the looming fiscal cliff in upcoming weeks, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) urges policymakers to reconsider Medicare cutbacks. Encroaching on Medicare’s spending, NAHC believes, would deny growing trends within the home health industry.
Already enduring $77 billion in home health Medicare cuts since 2009, according to NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris, further tightening would threaten a paradigm shift that expects the home care industry to grow by a third over the next five years.
Citing that 5% of people are responsible for 50% of health care costs, NAHC stresses now is not the time to cut home health services but to expand home care’s scope. Further cuts would not only hurt seniors and disabled individuals receiving Medicare benefits, but the shortening of jobs from fiscal tightening would ultimately contribute to the long-term health of the economy.
With over 12 million of America’s seniors and disabled citizens depending on home care services, NAHC notes that home-based care is “the right way to save billions in Medicare expenditures,” as it cost-effectively manages chronic diseases that account for 75% of the nation’s health care spending.
Currently, the average Medicare cost for a patient to receive home health care is $44 per day, compared to $559 per day in a typical nursing home and $1,932 per day for a typical hospital stay, according to NAHC.
“We need cooperation between both parties—it is essential,” said Halamandaris.
With Democrats reigning in the Senate and Republicans controlling the House, negotiation efforts have yet to reveal definite results.
NAHC is calling on its 33,000 nationwide members to contact their elected officials in efforts to preserve Medicare benefits received through home health.
Written by Jason Oliva