Industry Contributes to Well-Being of Texans While Saving Billions of Taxpayer Dollars
AUSTIN, TX – The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction is fast approaching an important deadline in the effort to identify long-term cost savings for the federal budget. Some proposals under consideration would have a disproportionate impact on the home care and hospice industry and on those who receive the services.
Stakeholders are urging members of the committee, Congress and the president to maintain adequate funding for vital Medicare and Medicaid programs that support cost-effective home health, hospice and personal assistance services. They argue that by enabling those who receive these services to remain in their homes rather than be forced into more expensive settings, taxpayers will save money over time.
“Funding cuts aimed at home care and hospice programs would jeopardize the quality, affordability and accessibility of these vital services,” said Anita Bradberry, executive director of the Texas Association for Home Care & Hospice. “This would result in significant cost increases for taxpayers by encouraging the utilization of more expensive emergency room, hospital and nursing home services.”
One proposal under consideration would impose cost-prohibitive co-payments for many Medicare Home Health services. Congress previously eliminated a co-payment and home health care deductible to encourage the use of less expensive non-institutional services. This current proposal fails to account for the cost savings created by seniors choosing to remain in their home and the savings to taxpayers that result.
By making use of cost-effective home health services combined with family and other informal support options, seniors are providing more than their share of “skin in the game” by contributing to billions of dollars in taxpayer savings. In fact, the use of home health services was associated with a $2.81 billion reduction in post-hospital Medicare spending over a three-year period, according to a 2011 study by Avalere Health LLC.
“Home care and hospice services are cost-containment solutions for Medicare and Medicaid, and they keep Texans proud and independent,” said Bradberry.
The federal government’s decisions to identify long-term budget solutions coincide with national “Home Care and Hospice Month.” Throughout the month of November, the industry is working to educate lawmakers and Texans on the benefits of home care and hospice to patients, taxpayers and the Texas economy through industry events, legislative home visits and other advocacy efforts.
“Home care and hospice services are vital to the well-being and economic viability of our citizens,” said Bradberry. “We are working closely with lawmakers during this critical time to ensure policy decisions provide Texans with continued access to quality and affordable home care and hospice services.”
The Texas Association for Home Care & Hospice Inc. is a statewide non-profit trade organization whose mission is to advocate for ethical practices, quality and economic viability of licensed providers of home and community support services in Texas. For more information, visit www.tahch.org.