money, stethoscope

Home care providers are disappointed after the Medicare Payment Advisory (MedPAC) last week formally voted to recommend reductions in Medicare base payment rates to home health and hospice for 2023.

Specifically, MedPAC, which advises Congress, recommended slashing the 2022 Medicare base payment rate for home health agencies by 5%. It also voted to recommend eliminating the update to the 2022 Medicare base payment rates for hospice and cutting the hospice aggregate by 20%. Both the home health and hospice recommendations were part of the MedPAC’s draft recommendations issued in December.

A part of its recommendations, MedPAC will advise Congress that the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services should require that home health agencies report telehealth services provided during a 30-day period. And the secretary should mandate that hospice report telehealth services on Medicare claims, MedPAC said.  

“While we are encouraged by the recommendations to create a mechanism by which home health and hospice agencies can accurately report telehealth encounters, NAHC continues to strongly oppose rate reductions to both home health and hospice base payment rates,” the National Association for Home Care & Hospice said in a report to members. “NAHC will continue to work with the Congress to educate them on the realities of high-quality home-based care provision, and ensure that payment policy protects access to necessary home health and hospice services in every community.”

MedPAC will issue the recommendations to Congress in an annual March report.