Medicare Payment Rule Advocacy Center
MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!
Legislation introduced in Congress would prevent the 7.69% reduction to Medicare home health payment rates, which the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) called for in its 2023 proposed rule.
CMS proposes cutting over $4 billion from the home health benefit, threatening patient access to essential health care. In Florida alone, Medicare-certified home health agencies face more than $345 million in payment cuts.
The Preserving Access to Home Health Act (S.4605/H.R.8581) would essentially freeze current home health payments until 2026, but with annual market basket inflation updates. Providers and patients would benefit from stability, while CMS data on home health spending could be further analyzed, as well as home health payment policies could be refined to ensure patient accessibility.
We urge you to contact your members of Congress and encourage them to cosponsor this legislation!
Through the Medicare Payment Rule Advocacy Center, you can engage your lawmakers in the following ways:
- Send an email to lawmakers with just a few clicks
- Setup a meeting with your lawmakers this month while Congress is in recess
- Call your lawmakers' staff on Capitol Hill about your concerns
- Make your voice heard by attending a local event with your lawmakers
- Communicate with lawmakers on social media
- Write a letter to your local newspaper to raise public awareness
Members of Congress are in recess this month, making them more accessible to constituents. We need the entire home health community involved in fighting for the survival of home health agencies and the continued access to care for the millions of Americans who deserve and depend upon quality care in the home.
Below you will find talking points, fact sheets, and action steps. If you have any questions or need assistance with your advocacy efforts, please contact Kyle Simon, Director of Government Affairs and Communications, at email@example.com or call (850) 222-8967.
Talking Points & Resources
- In the 2023 payment rule, Medicare proposes to cut over $4 billion from the home health benefit, threatening patient access to vital services and its viability. In Florida alone, Medicare-certified home health agencies face more than $345 million in payment cuts.
- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) seeks to impose an additional $2 billion in cuts as soon as 2024. This is an unjustified clawback of payments for critical health care delivered to seniors and people with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021.
- CMS also plans to add an additional ~$1 billion for alleged “overpayments” for 2022 services. This clawback of funds is an unprecedented overreach.
- These new reductions are on top of CMS continuing the assumption-based -4.36% behavioral change adjustment that has reduced rates since 2020.
- The cumulative impact of these cuts is billions of dollars stripped from the Medicare home health program, even as providers continue to face significant challenges because of the pandemic. Small, rural, and medically underserved communities will be disproportionately harmed.
6 Ways to Take Action
Schedule a Meeting
Congress is in recess throughout August, which makes this the perfect opportunity to meet with your members of Congress. Despite not being in Washington, lawmakers almost certainly have busy schedules — not to mention campaigning for the election — so be flexible if they can meet with you. If their schedule allows, invite them on a home visit so they can experience the value of home health firsthand. It's okay if your lawmaker can't meet with you. Ask for a staff member if they're available.
You can look up your members of Congress on the Legislative Action Center and call the office that's closest to you. To guide you through the process of requesting a meeting, we've provided a sample script below.
Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m your constituent calling from [CITY (ZIP code might be requested)].
I am calling to set up a meeting with Senator/Representative [LAST NAME] to discuss Medicare home health policy issues, specifically recently introduced legislation that I am hoping [HE/SHE] will support
Is Senator/Representative [LAST NAME's] able to meet in [HIS/HER] district office during the August recess, or perhaps join me on a Medicare home health visit with a constituent who is receiving services?
[If the staff person asks for additional information, provide a short summary of the issue and provide the bill number.]
Thank you for coordinating the meeting. I look forward to talking with Senator/Representative [LAST NAME] on [DATE/TIME] at [LOCATION].
During the meeting, reference the talking points (above) in your discussion and request support and cosponsorship of the bill. Bring 2-3 copies of fact sheets (above) that provide additional information that you can leave behind as well. After the meeting, send a thank you email reiterating your "ask" and provide any follow-up information requested. HCAF would appreciate hearing from you about your meeting and where your lawmaker stands.
If you need assistance at any point along the way, please contact Kyle Simon, Director of Government Affairs and Communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (850) 222-8967.
When calling your members of Congress, please call their Washington office rather than their district office. The first question you're likely to be asked is "Where do you live?" to determine if you are a constituent.
It is unlikely you will be able to speak directly with your Senators or Representative, so ask to speak with a staff member who handles health care policy. If he/she is not available, please ask to leave your comments with the person who fielded your call.
Congressional staff works long hours — 10 to 12 days are not uncommon — and have many demands and pressures on their time. You should craft a concise and compelling message before you call that:
- Requests that your Senator/Representative cosponsor S.4605 (Senate bill) or H.R.8581 (House bill), the Preserving Access to Home Health Act
- Illustrates how the proposed cuts would adversely affect your business and access to care.
Visit the Legislative Action Center and enter your address to identify your lawmakers, then click on the telephone icon for D.C. phone numbers and instructions. HCAF staff would appreciate it if you would complete the post-call survey to let us know how it went.
Attend a Local Event
The reason why Congress takes numerous breaks from their legislative work is so elected officials can get back to their districts and spend time with their constituents. During these recesses, they schedule various public events, including town halls. (Well, they are supposed to. Some are better than others at making themselves available.) Attending these town halls is one of the most effective ways to have your voice heard and influence your lawmakers.
To find a town hall or other events for your members of Congress, visit Town Hall Project. If you don’t see one listed, call their district office directly and ask when their next public event will take place.
If you have an opportunity to speak or ask a question of your lawmakers, reference the talking points (above) and request support and cosponsorship of the bill. Bring 2-3 copies of fact sheets (above) that provide additional information that you can leave behind as well. HCAF staff would appreciate hearing from you about your meeting and where your lawmaker stands.
Write a Letter to the Editor
Letters to the editor are great advocacy tools to raise public awareness about an issue. After you contact your members of Congress, submitting a letter to the editor of your local newspaper can achieve other advocacy goals because they:
- Reach a large audience.
- Are often monitored by elected officials.
- Can bring up information not addressed in a news article.
- Create an impression of widespread support for or opposition to an issue.
Provide your thoughts on the issue and describe how it impacts Florida's access to Medicare home health care services.
Click here for tips on writing an effective letter to the editor.