The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) this week announced its support for a new affiliate, the Home Care Rural Advocacy Alliance (HCRAA).
Together with the HCRAA, NAHC looks to unite rural home care agencies nationwide, while also further educating Congressional members of the importance of providing home care supports and services to those living in remote areas.
“We are bringing together all the rural home care agencies in America and those that provide care to underserved populations in order to make sure these indispensable agencies survive the Medicare payment reform known as rebasing,” NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris said in a statement.
Heading the HCRAA will be former Senator John Breaux (D-LA) serving as chairman along with former Senator Bob Dole (R-KS) as co-chairman.
“We are honored to have such great leaders for HCRAA,” Halamandaris said. “Their experience in Congress will be invaluable in helping NAHC formulate policy recommendations.”
The rural upbringings of both former Congressmen also adds to their understanding of the “special problems facing providers and caregivers who offer needed life-giving services in remote regions,” the NAHC President added.
NAHC intends to work with the HCRAA to extend the 3% rural add-on payment differential that Congress added to help pay the greater costs of providing services to individuals who live in remote areas of the country.
“When the add-on expires in 2015, rural agencies will likely need to reduce the services they provide, so saving these agencies is our number-one priority,” said Halamandaris. “Without them there will be no Medicare-sponsored home care programs outside of America’s central cities.”
Through this initiative, NAHC plans to collect information about the opportunities and challenges that confront rural home care providers.
Additionally, the association will interview “hundreds of patients along with their families” and use their responses in producing documentary films and policy reports, which it plans to share with the media and Congress.
“Members of Congress, in particular, need to know how valuable their services are to those who are so sick they cannot leave home without assistance,” Halamandaris said. “Together with HCRAA, we intend to educate Congress, the media and the general public.”
Membership in the new affiliate group is open to all NAHC members.
Written by Jason Oliva