MedPAC Recommends 5% Home Health Payment Cut to Congress

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) submitted its Medicare payment policy report to Congress, recommending a 5% payment rate cute to the home health care industry for 2019.

The recommendation is in line with prior reports from MedPAC, which is tasked with advising Congress on the administration of the Medicare program. The commission also recommended a 5% cut in 2017.

MedPAC did not recommend a payment update for four other health care sectors—long-term care hospital, hospice, ambulatory surgical center and skilled nursing facility—for 2019.

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Congressional members are not required to follow MedPAC’s recommendations, and the payment cuts to the home health care space are often significantly less than the recommended figure. The 2018 prospective payment system final rule included a cumulative 0.4%, or $80 million, rate reduction.

Beyond the 2019 payment cut recommendation, MedPAC also re-emphasized that the post-acute care sectors should be “brought together under a unified payment system,” the report reads. The proposed system would base payment on patient characteristics, with the goal of ultimately lowering costs and ensuring access for patients who may be “financially less desirable under current payment systems.”

MedPAC has been working on this proposed unified system for some time, with a description in its report to Congress in June 2017.

Read the full report here.

Written by Amy Baxter

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