Most industry experts have been predicting further cuts to Medicare reimbursement for home health care services in 2012. And most industry executives have been preparing, even if on paper, for the probable effects of those cuts on service offerings, access to care for vulnerable members of the communities they serve and employees. No wonder all eyes have been on President Obama's budget, which was just released and contains, for the time being, good news. The proposal contains:
- $3.7 trillion in new taxes for oil and gas companies (a back door green incentive?) and high income individuals
- increased spending on education
- push out the so called "physician fix" which stabilizes Medicare physician payments
- cuts to a variety of Federal programs and departments
- new integrity (anti-fraud) programs for Medicare and Medicaid
- no home health or hospice Medicare cuts
I'm currently attending the Home Care 100 conference and at a panel discussion today, Billy Tauzin, lobbyist and 25 year veteran of the U.S. House of Representatives (Louisiana) was quick to point out that the road ahead is long and that no one should take comfort in this... yet. The forthcoming Senate and House processes will quite possibly include new proposals to reduce home care reimbursements.