Oregon's 2nd District Rep. Greg Walden introduced a bill today to protect access to home health care services for seniors in Oregon and nationwide. The “Securing Access Via Excellence for (SAVE) Medicare Home Health Act” will stop the Obama Administration’s proposed 14 percent payment cut to home health care providers. Instead, it will put into place reforms that reward home health agencies that provide high value care to their patients while reducing payments to agencies that don’t meet certain performance and quality standards.
“Home health care allows patients more control over their health care, and provides a sense of comfort, familiarity, and normalcy for the patient and their families." Walden said.
“But the Obama Administration’s cuts have put thousands of Oregon seniors in danger of losing their home health care. That’s why I’ve introduced legislation to stop these harsh cuts and replace them with smart reforms that reward home health agencies that provide high value care to their patients. We’ll get more for our money and better care for patients without these across the board cuts. This common-sense bill will stop the Administration’s cuts to home health care, and allow Oregon seniors to continue to receive the care they need and that depend on,” Walden continued.
Last November, the Administration cut home health care payments by 14 percent over four years—the maximum amount allowed under the law. The board that sets Medicare rates predicts that the cuts will cause more than 40 percent of home health providers nationwide to operate in the red. And that number jumps to 70 percent of home care providers in Oregon.
According to the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare, more than 15,000 Oregonians already benefiting from home health services could lose access to their providers and nearly 3,000 home health care workers in Oregon could lose their jobs.
The SAVE Medicare Home Health Act repeals the Obamacare cuts in 2015-2017. Instead, savings are achieved by establishing a value-based purchasing (VBP) program to better incentivize home healthcare agencies to deliver high-quality care to patients and reduce hospital readmission rates. This plan is designed to be budget neutral, and positions Medicare to save money in the long run.