Cheryl Adams (second from left) with Illinois advocates at the 2023 the National Association of Home Care and Hospice March on Washington.

Sparta Community Hospital’s At-Home Health Care Administrator, Cheryl Adams, traveled to Washington, DC with other IL advocates for the March on Washington 2023 sponsored by the National Association of Home Care and Hospice.   March on Washington 2023 drew well over 100 advocates for home care, home health, and hospice.  There were three issues discussed with Congressional Members.

The first issue was asking Congress to tell Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to stop additional cuts to Home Health in 2024.   This means that fewer Medicare beneficiaries are able to access home health services, and hospitals are not able to smoothly transition patients to more appropriate care settings that are preferred by beneficiaries and less costly for Medicare.   Further reimbursement reductions will compound these access problems, leading to more costly care and worse outcomes for patients.

The second item on the agenda was to encourage CMS and Congress to work together to enact targeted program integrity solutions to identify and crack down on those who would intentionally exploit the Medicare Hospice benefit. The vast majority of the more than 5,300 Medicare-certified hospices across the nation honor the spirit of the original hospice mission by providing high-quality, holistic care to dying individuals and their families. Sadly, the recent entry of some opportunistic operators unconcerned with patient welfare are taking advantage of gaps in the hospice oversight infrastructure for their own ill-gotten financial gain, defrauding Medicare and harming the most vulnerable beneficiaries in the process.

And then finally, to ask Congress to approve the Better Care Better Jobs Act (S. 100/H.R. 547) as introduced by Senator Casey and Rep. Dingell. This legislation would make key improvements to the Medicaid program addressing both patient and caregiver challenges.

In-Person meetings were held with staff from the following Congressional Offices: Representatives Bost, Schakowsky, Budzinski, Kelly, LaHood and Underwood.  Meetings were also held with Senator Duckworth and Durbin.

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