The new Medicare Payment Advisory Commission report issued today (March 3rd, 2010) recommends some troublesome actions for home health agencies:
- ...The number of agencies continues to increase, with about 500 new agencies in 2009...(p. 21)
- ...the Commission has concluded that home health payments need to be significantly reduced.
To start with, the Commission recommends a zero update for 2011...
- ...the Congress should direct the Secretary to review home health agencies that exhibit unusual patterns of claims for payment...
- The Home Health Compare measures for 2009 are similar to those for previous years, showing improvement in the functional measures and mostly unchanged rates of adverse events.
Unlike Congress, MedPAC is trying to reduce overall Medicare costs. "Payment adequacy" means that you're making enough money this year and next year you can afford to make less.
One proposal in Health Care Reform was to make MedPac a cabinet-level, administrative body, like the Federal Reserve. Now, MedPAC only makes recommendations to Congress.
Maybe we need to keep it that way.