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Home Health Community Commends MedPAC And Committee Members For Reinforcing Need For Program Integrity Reform At House Ways & Means Hearing

- MedPAC data underscores the need for home health community reform proposal to strengthen Medicare program integrity -

WASHINGTON, March 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare today reiterated its support for program integrity reforms to curb fraud and abuse in the Medicare system, as recommended by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) and committee members. The home healthcare community continues to reinforce the need for increased efforts to strengthen Medicare to prevent fraud and abuse before it occurs for the benefit of patients, honest providers and American taxpayers.

At a hearing today before the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, testimony was presented on recommendations from the Commission's annual report to Congress. The recently released report recognizes the great value of home health stating, "The home health benefit provides a valuable service to beneficiaries and the Medicare program, particularly when it substitutes for a higher level of PAC or helps community-dwelling beneficiaries avoid hospitalizations."

As noted in previous reports, and confirmed again today by MedPAC, fraudulent and abusive billing practices in the home health sector are confined to isolated geographic areas of the country. The Commission has identified 25 counties (of the nation's 3,143 counties) where the highest levels of Medicare billing and suspected abuse are occurring, indicating that Medicare data allows government to identify and target fraudulent acts.

Based on this data, the home health community is calling on lawmakers to support program integrity reforms to reduce Medicare spending instead of implementing increased copayments on seniors or arbitrary cuts to Medicare reimbursement.  The Partnership - a coalition of home health providers dedicated to developing innovative reforms to improve the program integrity, quality, and efficiency of home healthcare for our nation's seniors - has put forth a proposal entitled the Skilled Home Health and Integrity Program Savings (SHHIPS) Act to combat the payment of aberrant claims by tightening participation standards, strengthening claims review processes, and creating payment safeguards.

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