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Schakowsky, Carter Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Medicare Patient Access to Home Health Care Services

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, a Senior Chief Deputy Whip, and Representatives Buddy Carter (R-GA), Ron Kind (D-WI), and Mike Kelly (R-PA) lead a bipartisan reintroduction of H.R. 2150, the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act of 2019. Representatives Susan Wild (D-PA) and David Joyce (R-OH) also joined as original cosponsors. The bill will authorize nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives, clinical nurse specialists, and physician assistants to certify patient eligibility for home health care services under Medicare. 

Nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives, clinical nurse specialists, and physician assistants play an essential role in managing and delivering health care to Americans and are all authorized to be Part B Medicare providers. They have delivered safe, cost-effective, and responsible health care, but current regulations require they have a physician document their home health care services, delaying treatment and jeopardizing the health of many patients. This procedural burden also increases the overall cost to the Medicare program by requiring participation of additional providers with reimbursement rates much higher than those of these practitioners.

“Nurse practitioners, certified-nurse midwives, clinical nurse specialists, and physician assistants offer invaluable, personal, professional care to so many people around the country,” said Congresswoman Schakowsky. “This legislation will make their cost-saving, high quality services more directly accessible to Medicare patients in need, while greatly reducing the costs of these services. A win for patients, a win for providers, and a win for Medicare’s bottom line.”

 “As a pharmacist for more than 30 years, I understand the importance of the entire health care team,” said Congressman Carter. “Nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives, clinical nurse specialists and physician assistants provide critical home health services and we need to ensure patients have access to these services. This legislation will increase access to this care while lowering costs at the same time. I am glad to see this legislation has bipartisan support and I hope it will move swiftly through Congress.”

Several organizations support this legislation, including American Association of Nurse Practitioners, the American Academy of PAs, the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the American Nurses Association, and the National Association for Home Care & Hospice.

Joyce M. Knestrick, PhD, APRN, C-FNP, FAANP, president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners stated, “the AANP applauds Rep. Jan Schakowsky along with Reps. Buddy Carter, Ron Kind,Mike Kelly, Susan Wild and David Joyce for the introduction of the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act of 2019. Nurse practitioners are the providers of choice for millions of Americans, providing their patients with high quality, cost effective health care. We wholeheartedly agree that outdated barriers need to be removed and commend these Members of Congress for leading on this important issue. This legislation will ensure needless barriers to practice are eliminated and timely access to care is achieved for those who need home health care.”

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