WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 18, 2022)—The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) met Thursday, January 13, to vote on their annual recommendations to Congress regarding payment policy and reporting requirements. This session served as a formality following presentation and discussion of the same recommendations that were put forward at the commission’s December 2021 meeting. The proposed recommendations voted on at this week’s meeting will be presented to the Congress in MedPAC’s annual March report.
For the Medicare hospice program, the commissioners approved two recommendations:
- For fiscal year (FY) 2023, the Congress should eliminate the update to the 2022 Medicare base payment rates for hospice and wage adjust and reduce the hospice aggregate cap by 20%; and
- The Secretary of Health and Human Services should require that hospices report telehealth services on Medicare claims.
For the Medicare home health program, the commissioners also approved two recommendations:
- For Calendar year 2023, the Congress should reduce the 2022 Medicare base payment rate for home health agencies by 5%; and
- The Secretary should require that home health agencies report the telehealth services provided during a 30-day period.
Further discussion on the recommendations was limited as commissioners shared their thoughts during the December meeting. However, during both the home health and hospice sessions concern was expressed for rural providers that experience unique travel and resource challenges in their operations that can hinder access to care. Two commissioners specifically cited care equity and disparities as reasons to give special consideration to rural providers in future commission work on payment adequacy.
While the industry is encouraged by the recommendations to create a mechanism by which home health and hospice agencies can accurately report telehealth encounters, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) continues to strongly oppose rate reductions to both home health and hospice base payment rates. NAHC will continue to work with the Congress to educate them on the realities of high-quality home-based care provision, and ensure that payment policy protects access to necessary home health and hospice services in every community.