According to NAHC, House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Ranking Member Jim McDermott (D-WA) introduced the Protecting the Integrity of Medicare Act (PIMA) (H.R. 5780) this week. Included in section 15 of the legislation is a provision that would impose a home health surety bond of not less than $50,000 that is “commensurate with the volume of payments to the home health agency.”
CMS has the authority under the ACA to impose such a surety bond, but has not chosen to do so. H.R. 5780 would make it mandatory.
This legislation could come to the House floor next week under suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority vote. If it passes the House, it would then go to the Senate. If taken up by the Senate, it would likely be under a procedure called unanimous consent because of the short time remaining in the lame duck session. This means one Senator can stop it from coming to a vote during the lame duck session.
Home care providers are urged to send a message to their Representatives and Senators asking them to oppose this legislation unless the home health surety bond provision is removed.
Some surety bonds talking points from NAHC to emphasize are:
- it will hurt home health small businesses already struggling to comply with so many expensive and unreasonable regulatory burdens and thus threaten access to care;
- it’s in effect a tax on the vast majority of ethical providers to cover the cost of a few bad actors;
- it leaves wide discretion to CMS in setting the bond amount and implementing the requirement;
- there are so many better ways to protect the integrity of the Medicare home health program;
- any surety bond requirement should be time-limited and targeted to new providers only as rarely do longstanding providers present a risk to Medicare; and
- this legislation should not be rushed through Congress during the lame duck session without committee hearings and markup.
Please take a moment to urge your Representative and Senators to oppose the Protecting the Integrity of Medicare Act (H.R. 5780) unless the home health surety bond provision is removed. For contact information, click here: Contact Your Elected Officials. When calling, ask the receptionist to connect you with the staffer who handles health care issues.
NAHC is exploring other options for grassroots action to communicate concerns about the home health surety bond proposal, such as social media and emails. However, because of the very short timeline, let’s get started with phone calls to the health staffers for your Representative and Senators.
NAHC will share further updates via future issues of NAHC Report.