The year 2018 projects to be an interesting one in the halls of the United States Congress. As the majority party in both chambers, Republicans will continue to work to carry our President Trumps agenda, including a broad infrastructure plan, immigration reform, and border security. Lawmakers will also work towards passing a budget resolution funding the federal government for the remainder of the fiscal year, as opposed to short-term continuing resolutions that maintain current spending levels, and lifting caps on allotments for the military.
The National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) is predicting notable changes for our industries. For home health, we predict that the rural add-on will be extended. However, the proposed phase-out is a serious threat staff continues to combat. While actual legislative language has not been introduced, we could see a vote on the Medicare extenders and thus the rural add-on as soon as the next federal budget bill. We are also predicting Medicare home health payment reform. During last year’s discussion on the home health groupings model (HHGM) proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), NAHC emphatically stated that industry stakeholders should be involved in payment reform efforts to ensure a budget-neutral system that protects patient access to care, and strengthens program integrity. As such, following their removal of the HHGM provision, CMS has engaged NAHC in preliminary discussions. However, no details or specifics have emerged regarding the direction CMS is planning to pursue with reform.
As has been the case in the past, NAHC will continue to monitor all regulatory and legislative developments that relate to home care and hospice. Stay tuned to the Informer for communications on developments, and how to get involved to protect and strengthen our industries. As always, the NAHC Legislative Action Center is open for business and an easy way to get in touch with your Congressional representation.