December 7, 2016

Home Health Leaders Congratulate Congressman Greg Walden on Chairmanship of House Energy & Commerce Committee

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The Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare – a coalition of home health providers dedicated to improving the integrity, quality, and efficiency of home healthcare for our nation’s seniors –  today congratulated Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) on his recent appointment to Chair the House Energy & Commerce Committee in the 115th Congress. Congressman Walden has been a longtime advocate for the home health and hospice community by leading legislation to protect vulnerable patients, providers and taxpayers.

Notably, in 2015, Congressman Walden authored a bill to update face-to-face (F2F) documentation rules to reduce delays in patient care and denial of coverage for skilled home healthcare. His legislation advocated for reducing the paperwork burden on physicians and home health agencies by directing the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to utilize a standardized form to document beneficiaries’ eligibility for home health services.

Congressman Walden has also previously introduced legislation to provide additional Medicare reimbursement to rural providers to help defray the costs of serving patients in rural communities including increased travel times and transportation expenses.

Representative Walden also led the charge for 133 members of the U.S. House of Representatives to send a letter to CMS expressing their deep concern with proposed Medicare home health funding cuts outlined in the Home Health Prospective Payment System (HHPPS) proposed rule for 2016. The letter cautioned CMS that the proposed cuts were based on outdated Medicare analyses, appeared to be out of step with reforms imposed on other post-acute care sectors, and put Medicare beneficiaries, agencies and healthcare jobs at risk.

Finally, when home health was slated for arbitrary, across-the-board rebasing cuts in 2014, Congressman Walden introduced the The Securing Access Via Excellence (SAVE) Medicare Home Health Act, a bill whose goal was to replace cuts with hospital readmission reform to achieve savings by improving care for Medicare beneficiaries and reducing avoidable spending. 

“Over the years, Congressman Walden has proven to be a tireless advocate for the home health community, consistently recognizing the unique needs of one of Medicare’s most vulnerable patient populations,” stated Colin Roskey, Executive Vice President of the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare. “We thank him for his service and look forward to working with him in his new role as Chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee and continuing to improve the role of skilled home healthcare through legislative action.”

Today, nearly 3.5 million homebound Medicare beneficiaries receive skilled home healthcare to treat illnesses related to acute, chronic or rehabilitative needs.