Home health care providers are trying to persuade Congress to reform part of the system Medicare uses to decide whether homebound enrollees really need to get care at home.
Sarah Meyers, executive director of the Oregon Association of Health Care, has asked members of the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee to overhaul the Medicare “face-to-face encounter” requirement.
To prevent waste, fraud and abuse of home health care benefits, Medicare requires the enrollees who are getting home care to show they have had a face-to-face encounter with a physician before getting the care.
Most home health care providers agree on the need for the patients getting the care to have physician oversight, but “this important safeguard has been implemented with impossible-to-meet documentation requirements,” Meyers said in written testimony submitted for a subcommittee hearing on several proposals for changing Medicare.
The subcommittee looked at draft of the Medicare face-to-face encounters bill, which does not yet have a bill number; H.R. 556, a bill that would change Medicare physical therapy rules; and H.R. 1934, a bill that would establish a national medical home test program for Medicare enrollees who have cancer.
Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., is lining up support for the face-to-face encounter draft.
Medicare program managers have complained that they’ve had problems with unnecessary use of home health care, and poor documentation of the need for the care.