March 18, 2019

Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare Concerned by MedPAC’s Proposed Cut to Home Health

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WASHINGTON – 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 expressed concern that the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) recommended a 5% cut to the home health reimbursement rate in its March 2019 report to Congress.

“MedPAC’s recommendations to slash reimbursement rates for the Medicare Home Health benefit come at a time when the entire health system is increasingly dependent on home health as an effective alternative to other types of post-acute care,” said Keith Myers, Chairman of the Partnership. “Moreover, as the home health sector prepares for the shift to our new payment model, any destabilizing forces like arbitrary rate cuts will disrupt the momentum of home health, which is providing care while reducing cost by ensuring that patients can receive advanced clinical care in the comfort of their own homes. Now is not the time to inject more uncertainty into the home health sector.”

Any arbitrary reduction in rates to the home healthcare payment model would be particularly disruptive as providers prepare for the Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM) set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2020. If implemented as designed, PDGM will make payment adjustments based on behavioral assumptions as opposed to observed evidence or actual provider billing behaviors. The new payment structure could result in a 6.42 percent payment reduction in 2020 – equaling an estimated $1 billion.