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Florida Home Care Advocates Make Waves on Capitol Hill

Florida Home Care Advocates Make Waves on Capitol Hill

Medicare Medicaid Private Duty Government Affairs & Advocacy

On April 17, 2024, Florida home care advocates showcased their industry commitment during the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) Spring Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill. Florida led the nation in attendance at the event, which featured approximately 100 representatives from 25 states engaging with over 150 congressional offices. The Florida contingent alone accounted for 23 of these engagements. Industry professionals conveyed key messages concerning Medicare, Medicaid, and Private Duty home care sectors.

A central focus was the Preserving Access to Home Health Act (S.2137/H.R.5159), prompted by recent Medicare home health cuts totaling $3.4 billion between 2020 and 2024, potentially leading to a $20 billion loss over the next decade. Advocates emphasized the need to prevent these cuts to ensure patient access and provider financial stability. The proposed legislation seeks to safeguard sustainable base payment rates and enhance transparency through a comprehensive analysis of the Medicare home health program by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC). Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-Palm Harbor) currently stands as Florida's sole cosponsor.

Additionally, advocates raised concerns about the 80-20 payment adequacy provision in the Ensuring Access to Medicaid Services rule. This rigid requirement mandates that at least 80% of Medicaid payments for specific services go toward direct care worker compensation. However, the narrow definition of "compensation" excludes crucial overhead costs, potentially undermining its effectiveness. Advocates warned lawmakers that this one-size-fits-all provision could harm access to vital home and community-based services, especially for vulnerable populations, if Medicaid providers withdraw due to unsustainable financial viability. They urged Congress to advocate for the withdrawal of this provision, finalized by the Biden Administration on April 22, 2024.

Following the visit, Congresswoman Kat Cammack (R-Gainesville) introduced legislation (H.R.8114) to prevent CMS from implementing the 80-20 mandate. Stay tuned for opportunities to urge your Senators and Representative to join her by cosponsoring this vital legislation.

Another critical topic was the Recognizing the Role of Direct Support Professionals Act (S.1332/H.R.2941), addressing the critical need for direct support professionals in all home care sectors. This bipartisan legislation offers comprehensive solutions to address the shortage and enhance care quality for clients and patients. Advocates secured the support of Congresswoman Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-Miramar), who cosponsored the legislation following the advocacy event.

The HCAF Board of Directors and staff express sincere appreciation for the exemplary leadership and steadfast advocacy of those who participated in advocating on behalf of the broader home care provider community.

Make Your Voice Heard: Advocate for Home Care Virtually

HCAF invites Florida's home care professionals to actively engage in shaping policies that directly affect our industry. Even if you couldn't join us in person, you can still make a significant impact through the Legislative Action Center. This platform empowers you to reach out to your elected representatives with just a few clicks, advocating for legislation that not only affects your business and staff but, most importantly, directly impacts the well-being of your patients/clients.

Your participation in this advocacy effort is paramount. By voicing your concerns, you ensure that Congress better understands the challenges we face and the changes required on a federal level. Click here to visit the Legislative Action Center and express your support for the key legislation outlined above. Additionally, encourage your colleagues to join in, magnifying our collective influence.

Thank you for your unwavering dedication to our industry and for championing the home care community. Together, let's drive positive change and champion policies that fortify home care and enhance the lives we serve.

Election 2024: Support the Home Care PAC for Positive Policy Change in 2025 and Beyond!

Advocacy and financial backing are crucial for influencing policy decisions affecting Florida's home care industry. The Home Care Political Action Committee (PAC) serves as a pivotal platform for pooling resources and directing them to candidates who champion home care interests in Tallahassee.

Over the years, the PAC has secured significant legislative victories, including Medicaid reimbursement rate increases and expanded access to home- and community-based services. It has also advocated for regulatory reforms that provide greater operational flexibility for home care agencies. From securing funding to alleviate waiting lists to defeating legislation that could impede caregiver employment, the PAC consistently advocates for policies benefiting both providers and patients.

With the annual Florida Legislative Session concluded, we encourage every home care organization and professional to contribute to the PAC's fundraising campaign. Our objective is to raise $50,000 for the fall election.

Your contribution will empower the PAC to drive positive change and cultivate a favorable legislative environment for Florida's home care industry in 2025 and beyond. Click here to donate online today!

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