The New York Times points out in this piece
that home health care is yet another type of service that will suffer
when Medicare takes a big hit in health care legislation, in all
likelihood. But it’s yet another part of the plan that doesn’t make
The legislation would reduce Medicare spending on home
health services, a lifeline for homebound Medicare beneficiaries, which
keeps them out of hospitals and nursing homes…
Which sets up these cuts
to be at odds with other provisions of the giant health
care bills. A major goal of those bills is to reduce the readmission of
Medicare patients to hospitals.
Medicare patients say that is exactly what home care does.
So why cut medical care that already provides the savings of keeping
patients a) at home in much less expensive circumstances and b) well
enough to avoid readmission to hospitals, where costs will jump?
“It’s cheaper to care for us at home than to stick us in a nursing home or even a hospital.”
…says a home health patient.
The prospect of such cuts has alarmed patients and home
care workers. “We would have to consider shrinking the area we serve or
discontinuing some services,” said Lisa Harvey-McPherson, who
supervises the Aroostook agency as president of Eastern Maine Home Care.
“Our staff are scared,” Ms. Harvey-McPherson said, “but it’s our
patients who will pay the price if Congress makes the cuts in home
There’s a lot of anxiety over Washington’s impractical calculations.
“The nurses’ visits are really important,” Mr. Moran said. “If they are cut, it could cost people their lives.”