January 10, 2022
Home Health Leaders Urge Lawmakers to Pass Choose Home Care Act of 2021
WASHINGTON – The Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare (PQHH) and the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) are urging lawmakers in Congress to advance the Choose Home Care Act of 2021 in the year ahead in order to improve access to home healthcare for Medicare beneficiaries following hospitalization. The bipartisan legislation establishes a program to offer American seniors and their families a safe, high-quality post-acute option for nursing home-level services in the home.
“The rapid increase in COVID-19 cases across the country due to the Omicron variant underscores the importance of advancing pro-patient policies that improve patient choice and expand patient access to healthcare services delivered safely in the home,” said Joanne Cunningham, Executive Director of PQHH. “Since these bills were introduced in the first half of the 117th Congress, they have garnered continued bipartisan support. We urge all lawmakers to sign onto this legislation so that their senior constituents and their families have the option to select the home setting for their post-hospital care.”
“Choose Home is an essential and natural Medicare modernization. Beneficiaries of Medicare deserve to have the option of health care at home,” said William A. Dombi, President, NAHC.
If enacted, the Choose Home Care Act would enable eligible Medicare patients to receive the existing Medicare home health benefit combined with additional extended care services including daily skilled care as needed, up to 360 hours of personal care as needed, transportation, meals, remote monitoring, and other services for 30 days post-discharge. This legislation would help seriously ill individuals recover safely at home, which would increase both patient and family satisfaction while significantly reducing their risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus and other infectious diseases. The Choose Home model also promotes significant Medicare savings—up to an estimated $2.6–$4.8 billion over 10 years—by offering nursing home level services in the home setting instead of in a skilled nursing facility.
Public opinion polling completed last year by Morning Consult shows strong support for post-hospital care in the home, with 94% of Medicare-aged respondents saying they would prefer to receive care at home rather than at a nursing home. In the same poll, 86% of respondents expressed support for the Choose Home legislation, including 92% of Democrat respondents and 83% of Republican respondents.
The Choose Home Care Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate (S.2562) last July by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Todd Young (R-IN) and in the House (H.R. 5514) last October by Representatives Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and James Comer (R-KY).
The bill is also supported by AARP, LeadingAge, Allies for Independence, the National Council on Aging, Moving Health Home, the Council of State Home Care & Hospice Associations, and the Forum of State Associations.
“As Congress returns to Washington and begins working on legislative priorities that benefit the American people, we ask that lawmakers include the Choose Home Care Act in a legislative package in order to better protect aging Americans from the risks of the ongoing pandemic,” added Cunningham.