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The Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act
The Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act of 2019 (S. 296), was introduced by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) in the Senate. In the House a companion bill (H.R. 2150) was introduced by Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Buddy Carter (R-GA), Ron Kind (D-WI), and Mike Kelly (R-PA) The legislation would authorize nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse-midwives, and physician assistants to certify home healthcare services for their Medicare patients. This legislation would ensure that beneficiaries have timely access to the home health care they need and reduce costs for Medicare.
Nurse Practitioners, Clinical Nurse Specialists, Certified Nurse Midwives, and Physician Assistants are playing increasingly important roles in the delivery of primary health care services. This is especially true in rural and medically-underserved areas. Medicare currently recognizes these four categories of Advanced Practice Nurses (APRNs) for the care they provide in home health settings; however, only a physician may certify that a patient is eligible for Medicare home health services. This is an unnecessary barrier to care that also increases costs for Medicare. The Society is a strong supporter of this legislation and will push for its passage. Take action now!