Cuts Will Be Bad For Many West Virginians

Editor, News-Register:

Medicare cuts in Washington aren’t just policies on paper. They affect real people and have potentially serious consequences. This is the case in West Virginia and throughout the nation, where seniors and healthcare professionals are bearing the brunt of a drastic cut to the Medicare home health benefit.

Starting in January of this year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid implemented an unprecedented cut of 14 percent to Medicare home health funding over the next four years, jeopardizing seniors’ access to clinically-advanced, cost-effective home healthcare.

Here in West Virginia, this cut puts 392,000 Medicare patients at risk of losing access to their preferred home healthcare, potentially forcing many to seek alternative medical care in costly institutional settings, or worse, forego necessary treatment.

To remedy this harmful cut, lawmakers in Washington have stepped up to the plate and introduced the Securing Access Via Excellence (SAVE) Medicare Home Health Act. This legislation would repeal the arbitrary cuts and replace them with responsible reforms that achieve savings by reducing avoidable spending and providing improved, coordinated care to patients.

The SAVE Medicare Home Health Act also incentivizes home health agencies to keep patients healthy and out of the hospital,potentially generating significant savings for the Medicare program.

I commend the lawmakers in Washington for protecting home health for our nation’s most vulnerable seniors and wish to recognize Congressman David McKinley for sponsoring the bill and Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito for signing on in support. Our lawmakers support of this valuable piece of legislation will help to ensure that Washington’s policies are written with seniors in mind.

Laura Friend, executive director

W.Va. Council of

Home Care Agencies