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Advocacy Update: Championing Home Care in Washington

Advocacy Update: Championing Home Care in Washington

Medicare Medicaid Government Affairs & Advocacy

HCAF recently took our advocacy to the national stage at the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) Fall Advocacy Event, which was held in Washington, D.C., on September 19-20. This event brought together advocates from across the nation to champion critical initiatives that directly impact the home care industry.

Here are the key takeaways from our advocacy efforts:

Part 1: Advocating on Capitol Hill

During the NAHC Fall Advocacy Event, HCAF staff and 10 dedicated Florida home care professionals actively engaged with a total of 12 congressional offices. Our goal was to address two vital initiatives:

  • Preserving Access to Home Health Act (S.2137/H.R.5159): Advocates urged lawmakers to support this legislation that prevents the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) from implementing the proposed 9.36% cut to Medicare home health payments next year. This cut would have a devastating impact on access to essential home health care services for beneficiaries. (Take action: Click here to send an email to your elected officials urging them to cosponsor the Preserving Access to Home Health Act!)
  • Ensuring Access to Medicaid Services Proposed Rule: Advocates called on Congress to take action regarding the proposed Medicaid access rule. While the rule contains valuable provisions to enhance Medicaid, it has generated apprehension due to a specific mandate known as the "80/20 provision". This provision mandates that a minimum of 80% of Medicaid payments for personal care services, homemaker services, and home health aide services be directed towards direct care workforce compensation. The concern lies in CMS's one-size-fits-all approach, which fails to consider the unique challenges faced by different states. Currently, CMS is reviewing over 2,100 comments submitted in response to the proposal. (Click here to read HCAF's comments.)

Part 2: A Conversation at the White House

On Wednesday, September 20, representatives from the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC), the Partnership for Medicaid Home-Based Care (PMHC), and the Home Care Association of America (HCAOA) met with members of the White House Domestic Policy Council (DPC). The focus of this meeting was to discuss the 80/20 provision of the Medicaid access rule. During this critical conversation, industry leaders raised several concerns:

  • Implementation Challenges: Advocates highlighted the potential difficulties that home care agencies might face in implementing and tracking the requirements of the 80/20 provision.
  • Inconsistencies in State Policies: Concerns were expressed about how the rule aligns with state rate-setting policies, potentially leading to inconsistencies in its application.
  • Impact on Rural Providers: Advocates emphasized the potential disproportionate impact on rural home care providers, who play a vital role in their communities.
  • Reduced Provider Participation: The risk of discouraging provider participation in Medicaid home- and community-based services (HCBS) programs due to the 80/20 provision was discussed.

The DPC staff were attentive and engaged during the meeting. They reiterated the Biden-Harris Administration's commitment to increasing worker wages in the industry and explored alternative administrative approaches to achieve this goal.

At HCAF, we remain steadfast in our dedication to advocating for our members and the broader home care community. We will continue to keep you updated on developments related to these initiatives as we carry on our advocacy efforts on behalf of our members. Stay tuned for more updates on how we're making a difference for you and those you serve.

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