Seniors and their families deserve choices when deciding where to recover after a hospital stay. If enacted, the Choose Home Care Act (HR 5514) will provide just that by improving access to respite care and home healthcare services for Medicare beneficiaries following hospitalization. The program offers families safe and convenient post-acute options for respite care and other essential top-quality caregiving services, all in the comfort of their homes.
What is the Choose Home Care Act?
The Choose Home Care Act enables eligible Medicare patients to receive extended care services at home for 30 days after hospital discharge. It is an add-on to the existing Medicare home health benefit, enabling patients to receive extended care services, including:
- Daily skilled care as needed
- Daily physical therapy and occupational therapy as needed
- Speech-language pathology services
- Up to 360 hours of personal care as needed
- Home modifications/home adaptive equipment
- Non-emergency transportation
- Respite care
- Caregiver support, education, and training
- Remote monitoring
- Medication management
- Care coordination and discharge planning
If enacted, eligible patients will have the autonomy to choose their recovery plan, with the option to recover at home in a safe environment with appropriate care customized to meet their unique rehabilitation needs.
The program expands the pool of patients eligible for home care to include those who would otherwise be discharged to a skilled nursing facility (SNF). It supports patients who are clinically suitable for at-home care but need extended services beyond what is currently available in the Medicare benefit. To qualify for the program, the patient must be a Medicare Beneficiary with the enhanced home benefit, live at home, and meet Medicare SNF Requirements.
The Home-Based Extended Care-Qualified home health agency that the patient is referred to is responsible for care coordination, which ensures the burden does not fall on the patient’s caregiver. The agency is responsible for coordinating the patient’s care, starting at hospital discharge.
The bi-partisan legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate in July 2021 by Senators Debbie
Stabenow (D-MI) and Todd Young (R-IN) and in the House in October 2021 by Representatives Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and James Comer (R-KY). It is supported by many organizations including the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, LeadingAge, AARP, Council of State Home Care & Hospice Associations, Forum of State Associations, National Council on Aging, and of course, Piedmont HomeCare, who want to make sure our clients have greater freedom over their respite care, Alzheimer’s care, and senior care options.
Benefits to Seniors
Care in the home setting provides more flexibility and financial support to help at-risk Medicare patients recover safely and comfortably at home, which improves patient and family satisfaction while reducing the risk of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. It promotes increased patient independence and enables more socialization during recovery, which decreases patient isolation and loneliness.
The Choose Home Care program would create significant cost savings for the Medicare program–according to NAHC, the program would save Medicare $144 million to $247 million per year, with $1.6-2.8 billion in savings over ten years. The program would expand resources for home care, enabling patients to avoid costly nursing stays post-hospitalization.
The Choose Home Care program is must-pass legislation that will safely and cost-effectively protect American seniors’ health while prioritizing care quality and patient preference. If you’re interested in learning more about how this legislation can benefit your family members and how to support it, contact us at Piedmont HomeCare, at 336-724-1197.