Calling on Congress to guard Medicare house healthcare

OPINION AND COMMENTARY

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A sample Medicare card.

A pattern Medicare card.

Proposed cuts to Medicare house healthcare providers may have a severe, adverse impression on seniors and people with disabilities right here in Kansas and throughout the nation.

Luckily, a bipartisan group of lawmakers in Congress are working to make sure these cuts don’t go into impact. Kansas lawmakers ought to be part of on this effort and assist defend entry to important house healthcare providers for the almost 30,000 Kansans who depend on these providers yearly.

For these of us with the privilege of working within the house healthcare neighborhood, the proposed new cuts which have been put ahead by the federal company that oversees Medicare elevate some main purple flags. In whole, Medicare desires to impose a everlasting 7.69% minimize in funds to house healthcare suppliers in addition to an extra $2 million in “clawback” cuts for providers supplied in 2020 and 2021, in the course of the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Setting apart the truth that house healthcare providers are rising in demand to cut back pointless journeys to the hospital and ease huge strains on our overburdened well being care system, the close to 8% minimize might be devastating for the house healthcare neighborhood, totaling $1.33 billion nationally in 2023—and $12 million in Kansas alone.

The cumulative impression of those proposed cuts to Medicare house healthcare providers would whole $18 billion over the subsequent 10 years, which some estimates predict may put half of the nation’s house well being companies in danger for closure.

Not that there would ever be a “good” time to impose such drastic cuts, however these explicit ones couldn’t be extra poorly deliberate. Between the pandemic, the still-too-high prices of gas, and hovering inflation, house healthcare suppliers and clinicians have been put by means of the proverbial wringer over the previous few years.

Consequently, wages and bills within the house healthcare sector have skyrocketed since 2019. Huge cuts to Medicare house well being providers will solely exacerbate these points.

Even when in comparison with the general Medicare inhabitants, those that make the most of house healthcare usually tend to be scuffling with poorer well being as they typically reside with a number of persistent situations.

Information exhibits that, in Kansas, greater than 65% of Medicare house healthcare beneficiaries reside with 5 or extra persistent well being care situations—corresponding to coronary heart illness, most cancers, and diabetes — whereas that determine is lower than 15% amongst Medicare beneficiaries general.

In different phrases, these Medicare cuts would undermine entry to high-quality take care of a few of our state’s — and our nation’s — most weak sufferers, who overwhelmingly desire to obtain care in their very own properties. In truth, 94% of Medicare beneficiaries say they’d somewhat obtain post-hospital care at house, the place they really feel extra comfy, protected, and accustomed to their environment.

Given the adverse ripple impact these potential Medicare cuts would have within the house healthcare neighborhood and for the sufferers we serve, it’s encouraging to know that some lawmakers in Congress have come collectively to introduce the bipartisan Preserving Entry to Dwelling Well being Act of 2022.

If handed, this laws would forestall any cuts to Medicare house healthcare in 2023, defending house well being sufferers, suppliers, and clinicians from these doubtlessly devastating cuts whereas giving Medicare officers extra time to refine its budgeting strategy.

For the sake of Kansas’ growing older and disabled inhabitants, our lawmakers within the U.S. Home and Senate ought to help the act and work with their colleagues on each side of the aisle to cross this much-needed laws at once. I commend Consultant Tracey Mann for already signing onto this necessary patient-care laws.

The earlier policymakers can guarantee entry to house healthcare stays protected, the higher our neighborhood can reply to the wants of Medicare sufferers in Kansas and throughout the nation.

Jane Kelly is Government Director of the Kansas Dwelling Care & Hospice Affiliation in Wichita.

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