CMS decision to enforce regulations that require physicians to have face-to-face encounters with homebound patients to receive Medicare benefits is a mistake.
Val J. Halamandaris, president of The National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC), issued the following statement in response to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) decision to not delay the implementation of the "face-to-face encounter" requirements in order to receive home care under Medicare:
"This is a sad day for millions of homebound and chronically ill older Americans and their loved ones. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) decision to enforce regulations that require physicians to have face-to-face encounters with homebound patients to receive Medicare benefits is a mistake. These regulations were originally delayed due to serious concerns about physicians' readiness to comply with them and the drastic impact that it will have on seriously ill patients.
"The regulations set a standard with which it is impossible to comply. Physicians do not have the time, nor would they be compensated for traveling many miles to see homebound patients. They're more likely to choose the easier route, which is to keep patients in the hospital or refer them to another institutional care setting.
"The enforcement of this rule will cause a train wreck that will set back the cause of home and community-based care many years. CMS should cancel its ill-advised directive, and called on Congress to repeal the legislative language from which these regulations were derived. It's hard to know exactly what the intent of this regulation was in the first place."
About NAHC -The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) is a non-profit organization that represents the nation's 25,000 home care and hospice organizations. NAHC also advocates for the more than two million nurses, therapists, aides and other caregivers employed by such organizations to provide in-home services to some 10 million Americans each year who are infirm, chronically ill, disabled and dying. Along with its advocacy, NAHC provides information to help its members provide the highest quality of care and is committed to excellence in every respect. To learn more about NAHC visit www.nahc.org and www.caring.org