As home care helps drive Congress to understand the need for increased funding for Medicaid, providers on Thursday made two key Medicare-related demands. They called on Senate leaders to oppose an extension of mandatory Medicare sequestration as a payment in any infrastructure package and to block the use of Medicare funds to pay for programs other than health care. .
“The sequestration originally planned by Medicare lasted well beyond its original design,” National Association for Home Care & Hospice president William A. Dombi said in a statement. “Health care providers should not be seen as the ‘benchmark’ funding source for Congress actions. In this action, the entire healthcare community came together and made a definitive statement that the forcible confinement must end. “
Meanwhile, providers joined members of the Biden administration and Democratic lawmakers in a virtual event Thursday to talk about including Medicaid home care provisions in the $ 3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package. of dollars. Lucha Silva, co-founder of NM-based eQuality HomeCare, said higher Medicaid reimbursement rates in the state must be part of the plan. She said low rates result in low wages for workers, making it difficult for them to recruit and retain.
“A higher salary really results in less turnover, as does the investment in training and greater benefits,” said Silva.
Shaista Kazmi, owner of Bloomfield, MI-based Apna Ghar Home Care, said the low reimbursement rate in her state is squeezing profit margins and making it difficult to provide quality care to her clients in Southeast Michigan. .
“You can’t charge clients $ 25 to $ 30 an hour and pay caregivers $ 12 an hour,” Kazmi said.
A big deal
Earlier this week, Senate Democrats unveiled the $ 3.5 trillion reconciliation plan, which would restore funding to the care economy in an infrastructure deal that the White House negotiated last month with a bipartite group of senators.
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Thursday that the care economy plays a crucial role in the country’s economic security.
“Most, if not all, developed economies around the world have a much better healthcare infrastructure, which is a competitive advantage for their economies. We have to catch up and we have to catch up now, ”said Raimondo.
Over the past month, Democrats in Congress have been busy crafting more bills to help fund the healthcare industry, which was included in the US plan for President Biden’s employment.
On Wednesday, Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) presented the Support for Our Direct Care Staff and Family Caregivers Act. The law provides $ 1 billion to support the direct care workforce and family caregivers through grants that would provide training and educational support to paid and unpaid caregivers. The funding would also help develop a center that would provide technical assistance to states and other government agencies providing support to the care economy.
“I think we have a real opportunity to do good in the next few months,” Kaine said Thursday.
In late June, Congress Democrats also introduced the Better Care Better Jobs Act, which would restore $ 400 billion for home and community services and a proposal for a permanent 10% increase in Federal Medical Assistance (FMAP) percentages. .