Roughly 1 / 4 million Texans profit from dwelling well being providers every year. However now the federal authorities is threatening the power of seniors to entry this most well-liked technique of care. Except Medicare works to guard dwelling well being, many older Texans might lose their potential to decide on the place they need to heal after hospitalization.
Medicare dwelling well being care allows older Individuals and other people with disabilities to get better from critical accidents or diseases within the security of their very own properties. It permits them to be surrounded by their family members and regain their well being in a well-recognized atmosphere, making restoration a extra comfy journey. And it’s no secret that sufferers would reasonably get better of their dwelling. In response to a brand new nationwide ballot from Morning Consult, 91% of older Individuals and Medicare beneficiaries expressed the best choice for receiving short-term restoration or rehabilitation well being care at dwelling.
Not solely is dwelling well being care widespread amongst sufferers, however it’s an essential job creator. With greater than 1,600 dwelling well being companies throughout the state using 1000’s of frontline staff, the house well being sector is a big a part of Texas’ well being care financial system.
However now this essential facet of care is below menace. The Facilities for Medicare & Medicaid Companies (CMS) just lately proposed a everlasting 7.69% fee lower to Medicare dwelling well being providers starting in 2023. If this proposal is finalized, an alarming $1.33 billion shall be lower from dwelling well being care in 2023 alone, together with greater than $128 million in Texas.
Moreover, Medicare has proposed a $2 billion clawback lower starting in 2024 to get better funds already made in the course of the first two years of the pandemic, and a $1 billion clawback on providers offered this 12 months. Over the following 10 years, the whole cuts may attain $18.15 billion. Taken collectively, all of that is very dangerous information for entry to the perfect affected person care.
These cuts can be completely devastating to the monetary stability of all the dwelling well being care sector and go a lot additional than any cuts CMS has proposed prior to now. The federal authorities doesn’t appear to contemplate the truth that demand for dwelling well being providers is on the rise. Sufferers are rising older and sicker, with greater than 25% of dwelling well being customers being over the age of 85, and 43% having 5 or extra persistent well being circumstances. These proposed cuts will solely hurt our most weak seniors’ potential to entry much-needed care. Medicare additionally isn’t taking into consideration that dwelling well being is experiencing a critical workforce disaster, with the scarcity of staff additional exacerbated by the pandemic.
There have to be swift motion to cease these cuts. Fortunately, lawmakers in Congress just lately launched the Preserving Entry to House Well being Act of 2022 (H.R. 8581/S. 4605). This bipartisan laws would forestall Medicare from imposing these deep and dangerous everlasting fee cuts till 2026, permitting sufferers to proceed accessing their most well-liked technique of care and giving suppliers stability as they proceed recovering from the pandemic whereas Medicare hones its fee system.
Because the founder and CEO of a number one know-how innovator for dwelling well being care primarily based in Dallas since 2007, I’ve seen firsthand simply how crucial care at house is for sufferers. I commend Texas Reps. Henry Cuellar and Vicente González for signing on to this widespread, bipartisan laws and urge the remainder of our Texas lawmakers to help these payments. The well being of Texas’ Medicare beneficiaries depends upon it.
John Olajide is the founder and CEO of Axxess. He wrote this column for The Dallas Morning Information.
We welcome your ideas in a letter to the editor. See the rules and submit your letter here.