dollar bill being cut

Home health leaders descended on Capitol Hill Tuesday to protest the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ proposed 7.69% Medicare payment cut to home health firms. The Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare and the National Association for Home Care & Hospice called on Congress to enact legislation that would prevent the cuts.

“We urge Congress to step in and advance legislation to prevent these severe cuts from being implemented in 2023,” Joanne Cunningham, CEO of the Partnership, said in a statement. “Home health is widely preferred by patients and their families. At a time when home-based care is needed for the health and safety of seniors, we will work with our champions in Congress to ensure that the delivery of quality patient care and the stability of our community are protected.”

CMS last month announced the proposed rule, which would cost providers up to $1.33 billion in 2023 and up to $2 billion in 2024 in clawback payments for home health services delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic to seniors and people with disabilities. 

Home health advocates say the proposed cut could financially decimate providers at a time when inflation is driving up the cost for everything from worker wages to energy. Just days after CMS announced the cut, NAHC President and CEO William Dombi threatened possible legal action if the cuts went into effect. 

The public has until mid-August to file formal comments on the proposal to CMS. The agency is expected to make a decision on the rule in the fall.