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Bill to Enable Non-Physician Practitioners to Certify Home Health Introduced in Senate

Posted on Saturday, February 16, 2019 2:40 PM

This legislation has enjoyed strong, widespread bipartisan support in both the House of Representatives and Senate however, there has been a continued concern within Congress as to how much the legislation’s enactment might cost the federal government. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has never produced an estimated score of the expected outlay.

Non-physician practitioners (NPPs) are playing are playing an increasingly vital role in our nation’s health care. PAs and NPs are eligible for reimbursement for certain physician services under Medicare. They can also certify Medicare eligibility for skilled nursing facility services. CMS allows PAs and NPs to sign Certificates of Medical Necessity required to file a claim for home medical equipment under Medicare. Certified nurse midwives have been authorized to provide maternity-related services to the relatively small population of disabled women of child-bearing years who are Medicare-eligible.

Yet, despite all these responsibilities bestowed on NPPs, CMS continues to prohibit them from certifying home health services for Medicare beneficiaries. The Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act would remedy this inconsistency by allowing NPPs to certify these services. By doing so, beneficiaries will endure fewer days spent in institutional settings waiting for regulatory requirements to be met, which will lead to savings for the Medicare program. Beneficiaries will also be able to continue to receive care from their chosen providing, producing improved patient satisfaction and health outcomes. Under current policy, the physician being asked to certify need might not have any relationship to the patient, which can lead to delays in care and deceased patient satisfaction and outcomes.

Source: NAHC Report

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