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What Do the Midterm Election Results Mean for Home Care and Hospice?

Posted on Friday, November 9, 2018 8:09 PM

The shift in control of the House to the Democrats while the Republicans continue to hold the Senate majority, most likely means more gridlock making major healthcare reforms unlikely.  However, there are three relatively minor reforms that have bipartisan support and should be passable. 

There is bipartisan and bicameral legislation that would restrict CMS’ power to impose any rate reductions in the form of behavioral adjustments in the recently finalized PDGM home health payment reform.  That could also mean that the legislation might be given serious consideration in the lame duck session that will begin when Congress returns from the election break. While there are no guarantees that any Medicare legislation will be in play during the lame duck session, the NAHC has already laid the groundwork to take advantage of that opportunity should it arise.

“Pending legislation also includes a long-sought reform that would permit non-physician practitioners to certify a Medicare home health benefit eligibility. A near majority of both the House and Senate have cosponsored the bills for several years. It is reforms such as this one — that are both bipartisan and serve to modernize Medicare — that will have the best chance of success in Congress in 2019.

The third area of opportunity is the Medicare rural add-on that faces a phase-out in the next two years. The Senate election outcomes fully demonstrate the importance of rural areas in today’s political environment as it is highly unlikely that the Republicans would have gained Senate seats without the rural vote. Several Senators have already stepped up with a willingness to champion the extension of the rural add-on. A bonus is that these supporters are both Republicans and Democrats. We must build on that support to ensure that appropriate action is taken.”

Source: NAHC Report

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