The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) and Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare (PQHH) commend the introduction of the Choose Home Care Act of 2021 in the US House of Representatives.

Introduced by Representatives Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and James Comer (R-KY), the bipartisan legislation is designed to increase access to home health care following hospitalization for eligible Medicare beneficiaries by offering a safe, high-quality post-acute option for nursing home level services in the home. The Choose Home Care Act was also introduced in the U.S. Senate (S.2562) in July by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Todd Young (R-IN).

The House companion bill is also originally cosponsored by Representatives Sanford Bishop, Jr. (D-GA), Brendan Boyle (D-PA), Buddy Carter (R-GA), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), Brian Higgins (D-NY), Clay Higgins (R-LA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Mike Johnson (R-LA), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Tom Suozzi (D-NY) and Paul Tonko (D-NY), according to a media release.

“Since being introduced in the Senate, Choose Home has received an outpouring of support from America’s home health community as well as consumer and patient advocates alike, which we believe demonstrates how important it is to increase access to safe, cost-effective care at home for Medicare beneficiaries after hospitalization. We commend Reps. Cuellar and Comer for their leadership on issues impacting the delivery of home care and are excited to see this bill introduced in the U.S. House.”

— NAHC President William A. Dombi, Esq

The bill is supported by AARP, LeadingAge, Allies for Independence, the National Council on Aging, Moving Health Home, the Council of State Home Care & Hospice Associations, and the Forum of State Associations.

Allow Extended Care Services

If enacted, the Choose Home Care Act would enable eligible Medicare patients to receive extended care services as an add-on to the existing Medicare Home Health benefit for 30 days post-discharge. This legislation would help seriously ill individuals recover safely at home, increasing patient and family satisfaction as well as significantly reducing the risk of exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and other infectious diseases. The Choose Home model also promotes significant Medicare savings—up to an estimated $247 million annually—by offering nursing home level services in the home setting instead of in a skilled nursing facility or other institutional settings.

Further, recent polling data from Morning Consult show strong support for post-hospital care in the home with 94% of Medicare-aged respondents saying they would prefer health care at home to a nursing home. In the same poll, 86% of respondents expressed support for the Choose Home legislation, including 92% of Democrat respondents and 83% of Republican respondents.

PQHH Executive Director Joanne Cunningham also thanked the House sponsors and cosponsors for their leadership in advancing this legislation in the U.S. House.

“We applaud Representatives Cuellar and Comer, and all the original co-sponsors, for recognizing the value of home health and the importance of advancing legislation to increase seniors’ care options after hospitalization. With their support, we are hopeful we will see the Choose Home Care Act enacted this year in order to help us better protect our nation’s vulnerable aging and sick populations while also modernizing the Medicare Home Health Benefit,” she says.

[Source(s): Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare and National Association for Home Care & Hospice, PR Newswire]