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MedPAC — yet again — recommends a 5% home health payment reduction

Source: Home Health Line

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) is once again recommending a 5% Medicare payment reduction for home health agencies.

During a Jan. 17 meeting, MedPAC voted in a favor of a draft recommendation that Congress “reduce the calendar year 2019 Medicare base payment rate for home health agencies by 5 percent.” The impact of this change would be to lower spending by $750 million to $2 billion in 2020 and $5 billion to $10 billion over five years, according to MedPAC.

MedPAC officials contended during the meeting that the cuts wouldn’t affect access to care.

In a separate draft recommendation, MedPAC voted that Congress should reduce the fiscal year 2019 Medicare base payment rates for hospice providers by 2%.

Congress isn’t required to follow to MedPAC’s recommendations. MedPAC’s March 2018 Report to Congress recommended a 5% payment reduction to home health agencies. But the 2019 PPS final rule for home health resulted in a 2.2% payment increase for agencies.