Washington, DC – Rep. Ritchie Torres led the entire New York Congressional Delegation in a letter to President Biden, OMB Director Young, and CMS Administrator Brooks-LaSure expressing concern about a proposed CMS rule that will devastate access to home care services.
In June, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a proposed rule that included a permanent 7.69% payment reduction, totaling $1.33 billion, to Medicare home health services beginning in 2023. CMS also proposed a cutback of approximately $2 billion in Medicare reimbursement that was provided during the first two years of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
These proposed changes threaten home health care providers’ ability to continue care for the nation’s seniors and people with disabilities and will exacerbate an existing labor shortage within the health care industry. Home health is the safest, most preferred choice for seniors and Americans with disabilities. There are over 190,000 home health jobs in New York and approximately 500,000 patients and families served by this system.
Black, Hispanic, and low-income residents have lower access to home health services, and the care they do have access to is of lower quality. Black and Hispanic elderly individuals reside in nursing homes at higher rates than their white counterparts because of inequitable access to services such as home health.
“Home health services are essential to safely serve seniors and those living with disabilities. The pandemic made it clearer than ever that access to health care for low-income communities of color is far from up to par,” said Rep. Ritchie Torres (NY-15). “Without broad and affordable access to home health care, we are only exacerbating the disparities among our most vulnerable communities. It is essential that we properly fund home health services to safely provide care to those who need it most. I want to thank my colleagues across for the state for joining me in supporting an issue that deeply affects the quality-of-care New Yorkers have access to. ”
“Across the state, providers are struggling to meet growing home health care needs, close disparity gaps and prevent ‘home health deserts,”said Dan Savitt, President and CEO of VNS Health, which operates NYS’s largest certified home health agency. “VNS Health applauds Congressman Torres and the entire NYS delegation for requesting the Administration pause and reevaluate these Medicare cuts amid a growing health workforce crisis.”
See letter here.