August 10, 2019
Home health care for seniors at risk unless Congress acts
Aging isn’t easy. And leaving home when healthcare needs require extra attention makes it even harder. But thanks to progress and innovations in the delivery of home health, more older Americans are able to stay safely at home while receiving home healthcare services.
Home health care is an essential component of the care system for our state’s seniors. It enables homebound seniors to receive medically necessary care under their own roof, including chronic disease management, rehabilitation and various therapies. However, recent changes to Medicare’s payment system will have a decidedly negative impact on Kansas seniors who rely on these care services to avoid nursing home stays or hospitalizations.
Under a new payment model, which will be implemented by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, reliable and consistent access to home health services for these vulnerable Kansans could be threatened. Under the new structure, called the Patient-Driven Grouping Model, Medicare will base its provider payments on “assumed behaviors” which means that assumptions will be made about the types of services being administered to patients rather than actual services that are carried out.