January 23, 2024

Lawmakers and Home Health Community Leaders Advocate for Home Healthcare Access to Care During Medicare Home Health Briefing

On January 18, stakeholders and advocates gathered in Washington, D.C. for a Medicare Home Health Briefing titled “The Future of Medicare’s Home Health Benefit for Aging and Disabled America.” Hosted by the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare (PQHH) and the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) and sponsored by Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL-7) and Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE-3), the briefing brought forth a wealth of insights and perspectives on the crucial topic of home healthcare.

Speaking to a packed room of Capitol Hill staffers and home health advocates, Congresswoman Sewell shared her family’s personal encounters with home healthcare and her commitment to ensuring patient access to affordable home healthcare. Rep. Sewell emphasized the collaborative spirit in Congress, highlighting the importance of the Preserving Access to Home Health Act of 2023 (S.2137/H.R. 5159). This bipartisan bill, which was introduced with Representative Smith, aims to protect the Medicare Home Health Benefit to ensure continued access to care in the home for families across the nation.

Congressman Smith underscored the significance of home health for patients and families residing in rural communities. His focus on those facing limited healthcare resources and options showcased a commitment to addressing healthcare disparities across the United States. Rep. Smith urged attendees to support H.R. 5159, affirming his dedication to advancing this crucial legislation.

The briefing also featured prominent speakers from throughout the home health community who shed light on how important seniors’ access to care and support for the workforce is. Bill Dombi, President of NAHC, provided a comprehensive overview of the Home Health Benefit. His presentation delved into trends in patient demographics, referrals, and payment. Carrie Edwards, RN BSN MHA LSSGB, Director of Home Care at Mary Lanning Healthcare in Nebraska, shared her agency’s experiences in managing challenges related to patient volume reduction and the scarcity of healthcare professionals in rural America. Jennifer Massey, RN BSN, Branch Director at Enhabit Home Health & Hospice in Alabama, offered personal insights as a home health nurse, addressing the challenges of reaching patients with significant healthcare needs and the rehabilitation and recovery triumphs that occur as a direct result of home healthcare.

The Partnership is committed to ensuring affordable access to care across the country, and will continue working with lawmakers, healthcare professionals, and patients to advocate for legislation to protect essential home health services.

You can support our efforts from home by emailing your lawmakers and urging them to support the Preserving Access to Home Health Act! Send an email now.