The Choose Home Care Act will be part of the congressional reconciliation package by the end of the year. That’s a prediction LHC Group Chairman and CEO Keith Myers made Thursday during an earnings call with analysts.
“I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in Washington in the last month and what I am saying to you is not hearsay,” Myers told analysts. “It’s [from] my personal visits with key members in both the House and the Senate. I’ve got somewhat of a feel for this. I’ve been doing work on [Capitol] Hill for 30 years.”
A bipartisan team of senators, including Bob Casey (D-PA) and Susan Collins (R-ME), introduced the Choose Home Care Act of 2021 last week. The legislation lets Medicare patients receive extended care services as an add-on following discharge from a hospital. Choose Home is considered a significant policy change that would strengthen and modernize Medicare, allowing beneficiaries to receive high-quality skilled nursing care at home.
Myers told analysts support from key lawmakers on both the Senate Finance Committee and Special Committee on Aging bode well for Choose Home’s passage in the Senate. He thought the bill would also pass the House of Representatives and be enacted fairly quickly. While optimistic about Choose Home, Myers expressed a degree of caution.
“There are no guarantees,” Myers said. “Anything can happen.”
Myers made the forecast following the release of the company’s second quarter earnings on Wednesday. The national home healthcare and hospice provider made $545.91 in revenues for the quarter, compared to $487.32 during the same period last year. The company earned $1.62 per share for the quarter compared to $1.23 per share in 2020.
LHC Group continued to buck headwinds from the pandemic that continued through the spring and early summer. While home health admissions increased 16.4% during the quarter compared to last year, hospice admissions increased a mere 1.1%.
Like its competitors, LHC Group executives acknowledged the tight labor market as their greatest challenge. However, the company said an employee referral program launched last year has helped it recruit 630 workers so far this year. The company has also beefed up benefits in healthcare, scheduling, education and training.
“We do market studies every year to ensure that we are not only offering a comprehensive package, but that we are very competitive and leading our peer group in our offerings,” LHC Group President Joshua Proffitt said.
In March, LHC Group announced that it had invested $20 million in the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s College of Nursing to help provide educational opportunities to staff and help recruit graduates from the school.
This article originally appeared on McKnight's Senior Living