Home Health Alliance: Medicare Cuts Make for an Unhappy New Year

Upcoming payment changes to the Home Health Prospective Payment System under the Affordable Care Act have made the start to the new year unhappy, according to a home health alliance that’s urging the Obama Administration to prevent or reverse the planned cuts. 

A final rule released the Friday before Thanksgiving cuts Medicare home health payments by 3.5% a year for four years—the maximum allowable under the ACA—for a total 14%, which the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare calls “unprecedented.”

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said in the final rule that the cuts will leave around 40% of all home health providers with negative margins by 2017.

“Due to the severity and suddenness of this cut, seniors advocates are calling it Obamacare’s ‘New Year’s Day Surprise.’ In keeping with the First Lady’s call for expanded health access to be a New Year’s resolution, we urge the Administration to make the reversal of this unprecedented cut a priority in the New Year,” said Eric Berger, CEO of the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare, in a statement. “While Obamacare aims to increase healthcare access for more Americans, this deep cut stands to negatively impact millions of American seniors, their families and needed healthcare jobs beginning on New Year’s Day.” 

The Obama Administration should dial back the Obamacare cuts, says the Partnership, in order to preserve the ability of homebound seniors to receive the services they need in their own homes. The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services has the authority to revise the home health PPS rebasing in order to protect seniors’ access to home health, the group says. 

View the finalized rule

Written by Alyssa Gerace

Alyssa Gerace