Dear Majority Leader Reid, Minority Leader McConnell, Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi:
As you address the nation’s budget and changes to the Medicare program, we, the undersigned organizations representing physicians, nurses, therapists, caregivers, veterans, senior and patient advocates, urge you to reject any additional across-the-board cuts to Medicare healthcare services. We are extremely concerned that proposed cuts to Medicare reimbursement for home health services risk jeopardizing seniors access to quality healthcare.
Just as approximately 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 years old each day in America and become eligible for the Medicare program, the vital healthcare services this growing population needs is at great risk. In recent years, legislative and regulatory changes have put many provider sectors under extreme stress.
For example, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a draft rule in late June that proposes to reduce Medicare payments for cost-effective, patient-preferred home healthcare services by an extraordinary 14 percent (3.5 percent per year in 2014-2017). If finalized in its current form, this rule will put access to care at risk in rural, minority and underserved communities all across the US.
In our experience, home health providers care for patients who are among the sickest, poorest, and most vulnerable beneficiaries in the Medicare program. Patients who receive skilled home healthcare services see improvements in quality, care coordination, and outcomes. We are therefore deeply concerned that additional cuts to home health funding will directly impact many of the 3.5 million seniors who today are treated in their home for illnesses related to acute, chronic or rehabilitative needs.
Medicare cuts and other changes that endanger patient access to care are the wrong approach to reducing federal spending. Therefore, we respectfully urge Congress to stand up for so that they can continue to receive the Medicare services that they need and deserve.
Thank you for your attention to this issue and for protecting the interests of our nat seniors and the dedicated men and women who are committed to providing quality care.
Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation American Academy of Home Care Physicians American Music Therapy Association
American Nurses Association
American Occupational Therapy Association
American Physical Therapy Association
American Speech Language Hearing Association
Association for Gerontology & Human Development in Historically Black Colleges & Universities
Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL)
Brain Injury Association of America
Caregivers Action Network
Case Management Society of America
Catholic Health Association of the United States
Jewish Federations of North America, LeadingAge
National Association for Home Care & Hospice National Association of Geriatric Care Managers
Partnership for Home Health Quality
Vietnam Veterans of America
Veterans Health Council
Visiting Nurse Associations of America