December 10, 2021

Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare Commends Congress for Extending Moratorium on Medicare Sequestration Cuts

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Washington, D.C. –– The Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare (Partnership) – a coalition of home health leaders dedicated to developing innovative reforms to improve the program integrity, quality, and efficiency of Medicare home healthcare for our nation’s seniors – today commended lawmakers in Congress for extending provider relief from the Medicare sequester cuts for another six months.

Congress originally temporarily suspended the annual 2% sequester cuts to Medicare providers in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in 2020, them subsequently extended the relief through the end of 2021. The sequester suspension has offered Medicare providers significant financial relief while operating under the constraints of the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, including a dramatic increase in labor costs.

According to a recent Labor Cost Survey of Partnership members, labor and administrative price trends in the home health sector have increased measurably in recent years:

  • The COVID-19 public health emergency resulted in higher labor and other costs including salaries and wages, as well as hiring, retention, benefits, and other staffing-related areas.
  • Home health wages, benefits, and administrative costs increased at a higher rate in 2020 than they did in 2019.
  • Home health agency (HHA) benefits costs are expected to grow at a rate that is 15.3 percentage points higher in 2021 than in 2020
  • HHA wages are anticipated to grow at the same rate in 2021 as they did in 2020.

“The Partnership applauds Congress for again extending sequestration relief as we continue to experience the higher costs of providing quality home healthcare, especially when it comes to our workforce,” said Joanne Cunningham, Executive Director of the Partnership. “The sequestration moratorium provided by Congress has been incredibly valuable to the home health sector due to the challenges of providing care during the public health emergency, coupled with the continued changes to Medicare home health payment policy. This continued relief will help to stabilize our sector as the costs of providing care to Medicare’s most vulnerable seniors continue to rise.”

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