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Making Home Health More Of An Option After Hospitalization Looks Like  A Winner. Will Government Listen?

Making Home Health More of an Option After Hospitalization Looks Like a Winner. Will Government Listen?

Morning Consult, a global opinion measurement consultancy, stuck its finger into the political winds of home care and found the newly proposed Choose Home Care Act of 2021 to be a winner. Their August survey of 2,200 adults found that nearly eight in ten adults age 45+ would be more likely to support their representatives if they passed the Choose Home Care Act. On the other hand, the well-funded and inpatient-oriented American Health Care Association adamantly opposes this act, which could reduce inpatient post-acute care by 33%. Which voice will prove most persuasive to government?

What is the Choose Home Care Act?

The Choose Home Care Act of 2021 proposes expansion of Medicare’s Home Health benefit. The expansion would package a range of important services into a benefit covered up to 100% by Medicare: meals, nonemergency transportation, remote patient monitoring, more personal care, home adaptations, primary medical care, and more. Legislators designed the package to make home health a viable alternative to skilled nursing facilities and rehab facilities in more situations. At present, nearly 33% of patients in nursing homes have the same frailty scores as patients receiving post-acute care at home. If those patients received care at home under the new Choose Home Care Act benefits, Medicare might save up to $247 million, even though the package eliminates most co-pays and deductibles. The National Association for Home Care & Hospice and Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare report that the Choose Home Care Act of 2021 has already won the endorsement of several important organizations. This includes the AARP, the National Council on Aging, Allies for Independence, Leading Age, and others.

How to Voice Support for the Choose Home Care Act

The National Association for Home Care and Hospice has created a webpage that helps you email your representatives on the subject. Based on your address and zip code, it finds and addresses your congress people. It also gives you suggested text which you can send as-is or personalize.

Bipartisan Support

The bill was first introduced by a bi-partisan duo, Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Todd Young (R-IN), and seems to have bipartisan support in the Capitol. Morning Consult finds the same to hold true among American adults. Their survey shows nine out of ten Democrats and eight out of ten Republicans saying it is important for Congress to pass this act.

Other Home Care Findings

Additional findings from the Morning Consult survey include:

  • Nearly all adults (97%) say it is important to them to personally have the ability to choose the setting in which they or a loved one recover.
  • Seven out of ten adults say the Medicare post-hospitalization benefit is best provided in the home, following a physician recommendation, rather than in a nursing home (18%).
  • Eight out of ten adults report, if they were recovering from a medical procedure, they would be interested in receiving follow-up care in their homes.
  • More than nine out of ten Medicare beneficiaries prefer to receive post-hospital, short-term health care at home.
  • Nine in ten adults respond that expanding home care should be a high priority for the federal government (89% of Democrats and 80% of Republicans).