Following the inability of the House, Senate, and White House to reach an agreement or compromise on funding for the Federal Government, the new fiscal year beginning October 1, 2013 started off with a government shutdown that has closed many departments or depleted their workforces.
However, the government shutdown will have only a minimal impact on the home health and hospice industries, says an industry trade group, thanks to Medicare and Medicaid’s status as entitlement programs that are deemed “mandatory spending.”
“[T]he home health and hospice community likely will be minimally affected since Medicare and Medicaid are entitlement programs that are deemed ‘mandatory spending’ and therefore not part of the government’s discretionary spending negotiations,” says the National Association of Hospice & Home Care. “At this point, it looks likely that Medicare payments to providers would continue unabated, yet slowdowns in payments are still possible depending on how CMS staff or contractors are affected.”
The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has furloughed more than half its workforce as a result of the shutdown. This could have an effect on programs and services that haven’t been categorized as mandatory, essential, or deemed as top priorities, NAHC cautions.
View the Department of Housing & Human Services Contingency Plan for more information.
Written by Alyssa Gerace