While home care providers were thrilled by the introduction of the Choose Home Care Act of 2021 on Thursday, not all of healthcare was pleased. The legislation spurred severe criticism from nursing home and assisted living providers.
“We adamantly oppose this bill in its current form,” the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living said in a statement. “The complex Choose Home Care Act would supplant existing benefits, create duplicative payments, confuse beneficiaries and increase out-of-pocket costs. At the same time, this legislation lacks clear quality and safety provisions, leaving patients vulnerable to inadequate care.
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC), which wholeheartedly supports the legislation, immediately issued a retort.
“The statement on the Choose Home Care Act of 2021 from AHCA and NCAL is wholly inaccurate,” NAHC President Bill Dombi said in a statement. “The Choose Home benefit does not have any cost sharing or cost shift to beneficiaries. The Choose Home Care proposal expands options for high quality care in one’s own home without a cost shift, with significant quality of care standards, and with the patient in full control of crucial healthcare decisions supported by comprehensive information on those choices while achieving savings to Medicare. It is very disappointing that AHCA/NCAL chooses to offer such unfounded allegations. This legislation is about patient choice, not the business interests of healthcare providers. Notably, there are many nursing homes that support the proposal.”
The bill, introduced by a bipartisan group of senators, aims to create in-home alternatives to skilled nursing facilities. It would allow a Medicare patient to receive extended care services as an add-on to the existing Medicare home health benefit for 30 days following a hospital discharge. The legislation is considered an important policy change aimed at strengthening and modernizing Medicare.