Home Health Leaders Express Concern Over Proposed Medicare Cuts

Home health leaders across Massachusetts are deeply concerned with the recent Proposed Rule to update the Home Health Perspective Payment System (HHPPS) for CY 2023 issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in June. With Medicare proposing a permanent 7.69% cut to Medicare home health services, plus billions of dollars in additional cuts, the delivery of high-quality home healthcare to millions of American seniors could be jeopardized, including 103,929 Medicare beneficiaries across Massachusetts.

 A recent analysis of the proposed Medicare cuts found that in Massachusetts, the total estimated impact of the 7.69% cut will be nearly $45 million dollars in 2023.  The impact of the proposed $3 billion nationwide “clawback” for home healthcare provided in 2020 and 2021 would be nearly $70 million with another anticipated cut of $41 million for care provided in 2022. The analysis also found that 40% of Massachusetts’s home health agencies will be operating at margins below zero after the 2023 cut.

 Nationwide, the proposed 7.69% cut alone equates to a $1.33 billion cut from Medicare home health in 2023. With Medicare forecasting additional cuts of more than $2 billion in 2024 and the years beyond, the total impact of the cuts is expected to total $18.15 billion nationally over the next ten years.

 Access to Medicare home health care services is vital to the health, safety, and rehabilitation of older Massachusettsans. If these cuts are implemented there is a chance that half of America’s home health agencies will be at risk of closure, meaning nearly half of the 174 home health agencies in Massachusetts could be at risk.

 “The delivery of quality home health services to older persons and families across Massachusetts is already challenging enough considering the impacts of the pandemic and the realities of high inflation, rising labor costs, increasing fuel prices, and other serious economic challenges,” said Jake Krilovich, executive director of the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts. “Despite increased demand for services and dwindling resources, Medicare has proposed further restricting our ability to meet the care needs of Massachusetts seniors through unfair and harmful cuts. I urge all our lawmakers in Massachusetts congressional delegation – with the November mid-term election around the corner – to act immediately to prevent the implementation of these cuts.”

 Bipartisan lawmakers in Congress have introduced The Preserving Access to Home Health Act of 2022 (S.4605/H.R. 8581), which would protect access to home health by delaying home health cuts until 2026.  According to a recent survey, nearly 9 in 10 voters over the age of 65 believe it is important for Congress to pass legislation that prevents these cuts.

 For more information on the impact of these cuts and the legislative effort to prevent them, visit https://pqhh.org/the-issues/medicare-cuts/.

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