Posted on Tuesday, September 1, 2015 9:51 AM
NAHC has recently met with officials from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to discuss the potential cost savings implications of the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act of 2015 (HR 1342/S578). The bill would allow non-physician practitioners (NPP), including Nurse Practitioners, Physicians Assistants, Clinical Nurse Specialists, and Nurse Midwives to certify Medicare home health services comparable to physicians. The home care community welcomes this change as more patients have NPP’s as their primary care source. The progress of federal legislation may be hindered or blocked because CBO “scores” a bill as having a cost that is not offset by other savings or revenue. Often times, legislation is blocked simply because CBO has not scored the bill due to other priorities. A number of congressional offices and committees have pushed to have HR 1342/S578 scored to no avail in the past years. The bill is now under review at the CBO, which is positive progress, according to NAHC. CBO has expressed interest in learning about the bill and what the potential changes in care patterns and Medicare spending might be triggered by the legislation if it was enacted. NAHC and other proponents of the bill have emphasized that the bill would remove an impediment to direct clinical integration and communication between home health care and the patient’s primary medical practitioner. Furthermore, NAHC has explained that Medicare could achieve savings through the legislation as it would shift physician billings to NPP billings that are reimbursed at the lower rate of 85% of the physician payment rates for certain items. At this time, however, when and how the CBO will score the bill is unknown. NAHC encourages everyone to connect with their congressional delegation with a request that they all cosponsor the pending bills in the House and Senate. Click here to read more.
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