Medicare Home Health Flexibility Act

AOTA is advocating for passage of the Medicare Home Health Flexibility Act (H.R. 3127/S. 1725) which was reintroduced in both the House and Senate on June 6, 2019.

The act would fix a 30-year-old policy that causes unnecessary delays in health care delivery. Current Medicare regulations create an imbalance among the skilled therapy services. Even when occupational therapy is ordered in the plan of care, occupational therapists are not permitted to conduct the required initial visit under Medicare. Additionally, they are not allowed to complete the comprehensive assessment unless OT is the qualifying service, such as under Medicaid or when OT is the qualifying service on a “continuing need” basis. These bills would allow occupational therapists to open home health therapy cases under Medicare.

This legislation would specifically allow home health agencies the flexibility to use the most clinically appropriate skilled service to conduct the initial assessment visit and to complete the comprehensive assessments. This legislation would only affect cases where skilled nursing has not been ordered and would not alter in any way Medicare’s criteria for establishing eligibility for the home health benefit.

Along with AOTA, this legislation is supported by the National Association of Home Care and Hospice (NAHC), the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

Please contact your member of Congress and ask them to cosponsor or to AOTA’s Legislative Action Center to take action!

Submitted by Pam Dipasquale, MS, OTR/L, OTAC President. This article was taken from an email to all state association presidents from AOTA.