Adding more muscle to home health’s case, the Reps. Terri Sewell (D-AL) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL) on Thursday introduced legislation in the House that would postpone severe home health Medicare cuts until 2026. 

The legislation, Preserving Access to Home Health Act of 2022, serves as a companion bill to the Senate version released Monday. Besides pushing out a 7.69% permanent cut to Medicare’s home health benefit to 2026, it would ensure that any adjustments the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services determines to be necessary to offset increases or decreases in estimated aggre­gate expenditures are made by 2032.

“We are very grateful for the support from Congresswoman Sewell and Congressman Buchanan,” Bill Dombi, president of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice, said in a statement. “Their legislation will provide essential protection from the improper payment rate cut that is proposed by Medicare. Hopefully, during the period of pause CMS will recognize that better options exist than to send 44% of home health agencies into a high risk of closure.”

Commented Joanne Cunningham, CEO of the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare: “We strongly support this legislative solution and will work diligently with Representatives Sewell and Buchanan, as well as Senators Stabenow and Collins, to enlist broad support for this bill among lawmakers, provider stakeholders, and the Medicare community.”

This is a developing story. Please check back for the latest updates.