Home Care & Hospice Providers Are Cautiously Optimistic About New Spending Bill

Posted on Monday, February 12, 2018 3:12 PM

On Friday, February 9th, President Donald Trump signed H.R.1982, the Bipartisan Budget Act into law. This law includes extensions and updates to a variety of Medicare programs, including a new 30-day budget neutral payment model, a rural add-on included again, changes to improve access to Hospice care, updated face-to-face requirements, changes to funding of the Children’s Health Insurance Program and a reimbursement cut for HHA’s of 1.5%.

“The National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) will continue to work to make improvements to the now public law; bringing regulatory relief, fairness in reimbursement, and protecting patient access to care. However, there are quite a few provisions that are worthy of celebration” per NAHC.

The rural add-on was extended for five additional years, with an associated study to analyze it for future improvements.

“The repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) has been a priority since its inclusion in the Affordable Care Act. Therefore, this is good news. This advisory board posed a threat to payment rates and other potential cuts. If done so, Congress and the Administration would have had limited ability to avert their work. Eliminating its existence will protect providers from unfair and unjustified cuts.”

Physician Assistants (PA) are now eligible to serve as attending physicians under the Medicare hospice benefit. They can also act as the primary care doctor for their patients if they choose to enter hospice.

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Sources: NAHC Report & Home HealthCare News

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