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House Approves Funding for Key Home Health Programs

Friday, October 5, 2018   (0 Comments)
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October 5, 2018, NAHC Report

On Wednesday, September 27 th, the House of Representatives approved legislation funding much of the government for Fiscal Year 2019, and moving the deadline for the rest to early December, after the mid-term elections. The legislation, H.R. 6157, was largely the appropriations bill for the Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Departments. In total, $854 billion was approved.

Of interest to the home care community was funding for the Administration for Community Living (ACL). In a modest increase, the ACL was allotted $2,120,200,000, up from FY2018’s $2,095,100,000. Within the ACL, specific funding was outlined for a series of programs impacting home care providers. These programs and their funding levels:

  • Home and Community Based Services – $385 million. Funding will go towards grants that will provide for services to keep seniors independent in their homes as long as possible. These services include in-home supports such as personal care assistants and homemaker services.
  • National Family Caregiver Support Program – $180 million. While mostly intended to support family caregivers, funding for this program is also allowable for respite care.
  • Lifespan Respite Care Program – $4 million. Funding will be granted to states to provide respite care for family caregivers, as well as improving coordination and training of respite care providers.
  • Aging and Disability Resource Centers – $8 million. This program provides education on what long-term services and supports are available to eligible individuals with the intent of helping them maintain their independence.
  • State Health Insurance Assistance Program – $49 million. The SHIP program provides education on benefits and coverage to eligible Medicare beneficiaries and their families. This helps with transitions to Medicare as clear and concise information can be difficult to come by.
  • Independent Living – $116 million. This program helps to keep individuals with disabilities independent and active in their communities. Funds are allowable for personal care assistants, among other services.

Unique to this year’s funding was a $182 million allocation to the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA). This increased funding will be utilized for additional Administrative Law Judges to help clear the backlog of nearly 500,000 appealed Medicare claims.

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