Members of Congress are out for their two-week April recess and will not return to Washington until April 28. This would be a good time for home care and hospice advocates to be in touch with their Members of Congress back home about home care and hospice issues.
An effective idea is to invite your legislators to accompany representatives of your agency on a home visit as a compelling way to ensure Members of Congress are informed about the benefits of home care and hospice. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) said at NAHC’s recent March on Washington that a home visit with a home care provider was a transformative experience for her. Home care and hospice advocates should also attend legislators’ public appearances over the recess for a chance to speak up about the importance of home care and hospice issues.
Helpful when planning such a contact or visit, many legislators now list their schedules on their website, or this information can be obtained by calling the Member’s district office and requesting an itinerary. To obtain contact information for your Members of Congress, go here: Contact Your Elected Officials.
One of the important messages to deliver is to urge lawmakers to reject proposals that would impose home health and hospice copays and payment cuts to offset the cost of fixing the flawed Medicare physician payment formula (SGR), to reduce the deficit, or for other purposes. Here are links on NAHC’s Legislative Action Network to background information and to send a message online.
For home health -- Write Your Legislators;
For hospice -- Write Your Legislators
NAHC is also seeking to include an amendment in any Medicare legislation which would provide relief from CMS’ home health rebasing final rule. For a description of this amendment and why it is needed, go here: Rebasing Reform Proposal Talking Points. To send a message online asking that lawmakers support this amendment, go here Write Your Legislators.
Home care and hospice advocates may raise other important issues during the Congressional Easter recess, either by visiting with their lawmakers back home or by sending a message through the NAHC Legislative Action Network:
- Reform the face-to-face physician encounter requirement for home health services -- Write Your Legislators.
- Modify the employer responsibilities in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to address home care specific needs --Write Your Legislators.
- Preserve the companionship services exemption --Write Your Legislators.
- Permit Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants to sign home health plans of care (Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act (S.1332;H.R.2504)) -- Write Your Legislators.
- Offer incentives for the adoption of telehomecare technologies (Fostering independence through Technology Act (S.596)) --Send a letter to your Senator.
- Refine hospice face-to-face requirement, require demonstration of hospice payment reform, and increase hospice survey frequency (Hospice Evaluation and Legitimate Payment Act (S.1053;H.R.2302)) -- Write Your Legislators.
- Define full-time for purposes of the ACA employer mandate as 40 hours a week (S. 1188; H.R.2575; H.R. 2988) -- Write Your Legislators.