Reps. Sewell and Abraham Lead Letter to Protect Home Health Provider Payments
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Thursday, Oct. 26, Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell (D-AL) and Congressman Ralph Abraham, M.D. (R-LA) led a bipartisan group of 174 Members of Congress in a letter urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) not to finalize cuts to Medicare payments for home health providers until stakeholders can fully analyze the impact of the proposed changes. The proposed CMS cuts would result in an estimated loss of $950 million for home health providers that care for more than 3.5 million Medicare beneficiaries across the country.
“Home health providers are a lifeline for constituents in my district, including seniors, disabled individuals, and those with limited mobility. These services are critical in saving long-term hospital costs, keeping families together, and promoting dignity and independence for our seniors,” said Rep. Terri Sewell. “Today’s letter vocalized the concerns of a bipartisan group of Members of Congress who believe that CMS’ proposed policy has the potential to seriously harm the delivery of home health services at a time when we need to be strengthening our home health resources for an aging population. Given more time, I am confident that lawmakers, stakeholders, and CMS can work together to find a payment approach that protects patient access to care and caregiver resources.”
“Home health is a critical health care option for people throughout the United States, particularly those living in rural areas like I represent,” said Dr. Ralph Abraham “The proposed CMS policy change could have severe consequences in delivering home health services, which will result in more hospitalizations and more families being separated when sick loved ones need support the most. I thank Congresswoman Sewell and the other members who signed our letter for joining together to ask for a delay to this rule change so that we can ensure patients continue to have access to home health services.”
“Not enough is known about this proposed care delivery and payment model for home health services and how it would impact patients’ access to those services. Fortunately, Rep. Sewell and Dr. Abraham recognize these concerns and we greatly appreciate their leadership in getting more than 170 of their colleagues to encourage CMS to not finalize this proposal,” said HealthSouth President and CEO Mark Tarr.
The Home Health Groupings Model (HHGM) proposal would significantly redefine the Medicare home health benefit, imposing a 15% reduction in payment levels and an untested case mix adjustment model. If implemented, HHGM will diminish the value that home health services bring to the Medicare system and create unnecessary barriers to care for the seniors who rely on them.
Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-AL) is serving her fourth term representing Alabama’s 7th Congressional district. She sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and was recently appointed to the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Sewell is a Chief Deputy Whip and serves on the prestigious Steering and Policy Committee of the Democratic Caucus. She is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and serves as Vice Chair of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus, and Vice Chair of Outreach for the New Democrat Coalition.