February 8, 2024 9:51 pm

Home health providers are scrambling as they push Congress to pass a bill that would alleviate some of the pay cuts the home health sector has taken, and the advocates are eying any upcoming packages as a possible place to attach the bill. The bill would also require Congress’ Medicare payment advisors to be more transparent when they calculate home health financials and stability.


Stakeholders, including the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare and the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, are pushing lawmakers to pass the Preserving Access to Home Health Services Act, which has garnered a bipartisan set of 44 cosponsors and is sponsored by Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) along with Reps. Terri Sewell (D-AL) and Adrian Smith (R-NE).


The legislation would prevent a series of cuts tied to the Patient-Driven Groupings Model from kicking in and would “require [Medicare Payment Advisory Commission] to be more transparent in its calculations about home health financial data and the stability of the sector,” a release from Stabenow’s office says.


Congress’ Medicare payment advisors say the sector has consistently finished with high margins, but lobbyists argue that the MedPAC’s methodology is flawed and doesn’t account for a broader environmental scope.

PQHH’s CEO Joanne Cunningham along with NACHC President Bill Dombi told Inside Health Policy they’re looking at any and all opportunities to tie the legislation to a major package, either to the health package expected before the continuing resolution expires in early March or to a future omnibus down the line.

They’re also vying for any offsets they could use for the bill, which doesn’t have a formal Congressional Budget Office score. Cunningham said it could ring in at around $3.4 billion based on CMS’ estimates in the final home health pay rule.

“Obviously they’re trying to put together some sort of a package of extenders and other pieces for the action around Mar. 8, and we’re trying to find ourselves on that,” Dombi said. “We did not succeed getting in on the early go-round the first [continuing resolution] that came out, but then, the doctors didn’t get there either.