Cuellar, Comer Introduce Bipartisan Bill Allowing Home Recovery for Medicare Patients
Washington | Dana Youngentob, DC Press Secretary (202-340-9148), October 8, 2021
Tags: Health Care
Washington, DC—Today, U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) and Congressman James Comer (KY-1) introduced the Choose Home Care Act of 2021. This bipartisan legislation allows qualifying Medicare beneficiaries recovering from a hospitalization to choose to receive post-hospital services in their homes, rather than in an institutional setting.
Due to COVID-19 and related health emergencies, institutionalized healthcare carries significant risks, including increased patient mortality. Beneficiaries opting for home health care as an alternative to institutionalization will still receive competent care, with much less risk and much less cost than their institutionalized counterparts.
“Seniors deserve the best health care possible. After hospitalization, people are often most comfortable in their homes," said Congressman Cuellar. “Medicare needs to allow individuals the freedom to make the healthcare decisions best for them, including recovery in their homes. With just 27 nursing homes in my district, allowing my constituents the option of home care keeps them closer to loved ones and safer from infectious diseases. As a Member of Congress, I will continue to support legislation that improves the healthcare and quality of life of my constituents. I thank Representative Comer for working with me on this important bill.”
“I am proud to join Congressman Cuellar in introducing bipartisan legislation to provide Medicare beneficiaries with more options to receive post-hospitalization care in the place most comforting to them - their own homes,” Congressman Comer said. “Medicare’s existing home health benefit doesn’t always offer the services necessary to ensure the best care for patients, which is what our bill seeks to change. Our proposal is safe, cost-effective, and will enhance the quality of life of eligible senior citizens who would rather receive care in a familiar home setting.”
The legislation would significantly expand the existing Medicare home health benefit, allowing qualifying beneficiaries choice of care setting and ultimately enabling more beneficiaries to return directly to their homes after release from the hospital. To enable a safe transition from hospital to home, the expanded home care service would provide up to 24-hour care and medical supervision for as much as 360 hours over a 30-day episode.
In 2020, the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare (PQHH) commissioned Dobson DaVanzo & Associates to estimate the budgetary impact of the Choose Home Care Act proposal. Dobson DaVanzo ultimately found that the Choose Home Care Act could result in Medicare savings of $144-247 million per year, with $1.6-2.8 billion in savings over 10 years.
According to the National Association for Home Care & Hospice, estimates from individual home health providers indicate that savings from the legislation could be even higher, with savings as much as $925 million annually.
This bill has been introduced in the House with 14 original co-sponsors: Henry Cuellar, (D-TX-28 – Democrat Lead), James Comer (R- KY-01 – Republican Lead), Tom Suozzi (D-NY-03), Dwight Evans (D-PA-03), Clay Higgins (R-LA-03), Sanford Bishop (D-GA-02), Rep Brian Higgins (D-NY-26), Rep Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX-15), Paul Tonko (D-NY-20), Buddy Carter (R-GA-01), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ-01), Brenden F. Boyle (D-PA-02), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Mike Johnson (R-LA-04).
The bill has also been introduced in the Senate with 5 original co-sponsors: Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and James Lankford (R-OH).