Thursday, June 17, 2010

NAHC Report Article

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Fifty Representatives Endorse Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act

Bills Would Allow NPs, PAs, and Other Professionals to Sign Home Health Plans of Care

With the help of home care advocates, Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA) has garnered 50 cosponsors for her legislation, the Home Health Planning Improvement Act of 2010 (H.R. 4993). The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) thanks all home care advocates who helped encourage their representatives' support for this legislation (NAHC Report, 4/28/10) The bill would allow nurse practitioners (NPs), clinical nurse specialists, and physician assistants (PAs) to order home health services under Medicare in accordance with state law.

Rep. Schwartz -- who serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over Medicare and Medicaid -- and the bill's Republican cosponsor, Walter Jones (R-NC), have been circulating a new, bipartisan "dear colleague" letter describing the bill and seeking cosigners among fellow House members.

"Even though nurse practitioners and physician assistants are currently able to order nursing home care for Medicare beneficiaries, they are not able to order less costly home care services," Schwartz and Jones point out in the letter. "The Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act, H.R. 4993, would ensure that our Medicare beneficiaries get the home health care they need in a timely manner." You can help by downloading the letter and forwarding it to your representative's office -- see below for information to help you do so. In addition, Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Kent Conrad (D-ND) have introduced a Senate companion bill (S. 2814), and NAHC urges all home care advocates to encourage their senators to add their names as cosponsors.

TAKE ACTION: Have your congressional legislators added their names to these important bills?

Click here and enter your zip code to find your federal legislators and their contact information. If your members of the House and Senate have not yet cosponsored H.R. 4993 or S. 2814, respectively, please contact their offices and encourage them to do so. When calling, ask to speak with the staffer who handles Medicare issues. To send an email on this issue to your members of Congress using the NAHC Legislative Action Network, click here.