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VNAA - Visiting Nurse Associations of America

PRESS RELEASE
Contact: Emily Swanson
Visiting Nurse Associations of America
202.384.1442
[email protected]

VNAA Supports MedPAC Recommendations on Fraud/Abuse;
Opposes Across-the-Board Cuts for Vulnerable Patients
Served by Nonprofit Home Health and Hospice

WASHINGTON, DC - March 3, 2010 - The Visiting Nurse Associations of America (VNAA) supports many recommendations made in the March 2010 Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) report to eliminate fraud and abuse but objects to cuts that will harm vulnerable patients served by nonprofit home health and hospice providers.

"MedPAC's recommendations for across-the-board cuts such as the elimination of the 2011 market basket update and immediate rebasing of payments will hurt vulnerable home health patients who have complex health issues or are disadvantaged," stated Andy Carter, VNAA President and CEO. "We believe that MedPAC should recommend Congress adopt targeted policies for Medicare that protect services for hard-to-serve patients and achieve savings by reducing fraud and abuse."

An unexpected suggestion in the report for future consideration was the establishment of a new beneficiary co-payment for Medicare home health services.

"Many patients served by nonprofit, safety net providers have limited resources. Patients who are disadvantaged and very sick will not be able to make co-payments, forcing them to turn to expensive institutional settings for their care needs which increase Medicare program costs," said Carter.

Aside from payment recommendations, MedPAC's 2010 report describes policy measures aimed at reducing abusive practices perpetrated by certain Medicare providers by giving the Secretary the authority to declare a temporary moratorium on new providers, investigate unusual billing patterns in home health and inappropriate financial relationships between hospices and long-term care facilities.

"We are very supportive of MedPAC's recommendations to combat fraud and abuse in the Medicare home health and hospice programs," stated Carter. "Abusive tactics practiced by certain providers harm program integrity and disrupt the ability of legitimate providers to care for patients."

VNAA has offered over thirty recommendations to reduce fraud and abuse in the Medicare home health program. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently adopted one of VNAA's recommendations to limit outlier payments in regulations put in place for 2010.

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About VNAA: VNAA is a national association that supports, promotes, and advocates for high quality nonprofit home health and hospice providers that provide comprehensive services for Medicare, Medicaid, uninsured, and privately insured patients. VNAA members share a mission to provide cost-effective and compassionate care to some of the nation's most vulnerable individuals, particularly the elderly and individuals with disabilities.


Direct link - VNAA's Medicare Home Health: Encouraging Quality and Discouraging Abuse White Paper - http://vnaa.org/vnaa/g/?H=HTML/VNAA_encouraging_quality_discouraging_abuse.html



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www.VNAA.org