Good news! Home Health Agencies, and nursing homes which furnish certain skilled nursing and rehabilitation care to Medicare beneficiaries may be receiving a 3.1 percent increase in Medicare payments beginning January 1, 2007. The increase, proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) would mean about $560 million for nursing homes and $460 million for Home Health Agencies.
To qualify for the Medicare home health benefit, a Medicare beneficiary must be under the care of a physician, have an intermittent need for skilled nursing care, or need physical or speech therapy, or a continuing need for occupational therapy. The beneficiary must be homebound and receive home health services from a Medicare approved Home Health Agency.
This increase in payment, if ultimately approved by Congress, should help remove the tired old complaint from health care companies and nursing homes that they cannot provide better care due to the low reimbursements from Medicare. For a complete discussion on the proposed increase read this article in the Senior Journal.