OAHC Position Papers

2020 OAHC State and Federal Positions

Never before has access to home health care been more important than it is today. COVID-19 has created circumstances that require those who can stay home to stay home. This is particularly true with our seniors who are more at risk for complications from COVID-19. Projections suggest 75% of Americans over 65 manage multiple chronic health conditions. It is imperative that our seniors have access to home health care so they can manage these conditions and any other issues that require them to access health care, especially during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Home health care brings proven cost savings to health care, promotes better patient outcomes, provides access to the latest therapies and medical technology, and is the patient preferred setting for medical care, especially now. The Oregon Legislature and Congress should protect and expand access to home health care, eliminate barriers to its provision, and work to expand its use as an effective solution to rising health care costs and an effective way to manage patient health in this crisis.

The Oregon Association for Home Care (OAHC), in our effort to preserve access and quality of care in the delivery of home care, has identified the following State and Federal priorities for 2020 and beyond.

State Priorities

  • Protect Medicaid funding during the economic downturn to ensure Oregonians have access to home health care to stay out of hospitals and nursing homes. Ensure biennial rate updates remain intact in the crisis.
  • Pass liability protections to protect healthcare professionals and facilities during the COVID-19 emergency so that those on the frontlines of the outbreak can make decisions that are in the best interest of our community without fear of future unwarranted lawsuits.
  • Ensure our providers can access their patients living in facilities. Continue to stress the importance of in-home care, home health and hospice providers as frontline providers who need easy access to PPE and to COVID-19 testing.
  • Update rules to reflect nurse practitioners and physician assistants ordering home health – a huge win for our industry that must be permanently adopted in Oregon rules.
  • Advocate for responsible State regulations that do not add barriers to access to care commensurate with issued federal guidelines and limit additional state requirements for home health providers. Monitor and engage on burdensome employment requirements and proposals that increase costs for agencies.
  • Continue to advocate for telehealth for managing home health patients
  • Support legislation and regulations that make in-home care, home health and hospice accessible and streamlined for patients and their families.

Federal Priorities
Support the Home Health Services Act – H.R. 7006. Congress should waive or suspend the Medicare requirement that home health agencies secure signed and dated orders and eligibility certifications during the COVID-19 pandemic emergency. Medicare billings based on verbal orders and certifications should be permitted, provided the home health agency maintains detailed documentation of the orders and certifications by professional staff at the home health agency.

Support and Protect Home Care Front Line Workers– Now, more than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic, home-based care has come to the forefront as a way to keep those at the highest risk for the virus at home while receiving the care they need under the watchful eye of a home care professional. However, in the absence of support, the safety and retention of this workforce is in jeopardy at a time when it is most needed. Congress and appropriate federal agencies must take a series of steps to ensure retention and recruitment of a home care workforce with all available and proper safety equipment during the public health emergency.

Support Additional COVID-19 Funding and Relief for Home Care – We thank Congress and CMS for its support to date, including suspension of Medicare sequestration, financial relief from the Public Health and Social Service Emergency Fund, and the allowance for non-physician practitioners to certify home health eligibility. While all helpful, additional support and relief is vital to stabilizing our industry and optimizing home health and hospice agencies’ ability to be a part of the pandemic solution. Congress should take additional steps in supporting agencies by:

  • Increasing Medicare Home Health reimbursement by 15%
  • Establishing in-home care providers as a priority in PPE distribution
  • Releasing waivers to allow telehealth visits to be reimbursed within the home health benefit
  • Waiving or suspending the Medicare requirement that home health orders and eligibility certification be signed and dated by a physician during the public health emergency

Every January, the OAHC Regulatory and Legislative Affairs Committee drafts (and the Board approves) key priority positions of the association. This Position Paper details the top state and federal issues that Oregon agencies are most concerned about. The identification of these issues comes from the OAHC annual Advocacy Survey conducted in the fall as well as from the National Association for Home Care and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization's top federal priorities.

Archive

2019 Oregon Position Paper
2019 Federal Position Paper

2018 Oregon Position Paper includes OAHC positions on State Issues
2018 Federal Position Paper includes OAHC positions on Federal Issues

2017 Oregon Position Paper includes OAHC positions on State Issues
2017 Federal Position Paper includes OAHC positions on Federal Issues

Physicians Ordering HH from Across State Lines