Home healthcare funding to be slashed in 2011

Bryan Aldrige

July 30, 2010

The Senior Journal recently reported that The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has announced payment changes that will be implemented next year, affecting a sweeping financial plan to increase spending on nursing homes and decrease it for home healthcare agencies.

Nursing homes will be receiving an increased budget that amounts to an additional $542 million. Jonathan Blum, the director of the Center for Medicare and deputy administrator for CMS, claimed that this increase would guarantee that seniors in caretaking facilities would receive high quality service.

However, home healthcare agencies now face a $900 million cut from their 2010 budget. “Patient care and access are ultimately what CMS is looking to protect, while working aggressively to prevent fraud,” Blum told the news source.

To receive the care of an HHA, Medicare beneficiaries must be under the care of a physician, require skilled nurses, or either physical, speech or occupational therapy, according to the news provider.

These cuts may be a blow for the majority of seniors, 89 percent of whom wish to remain living in their homes for as long as possible, according to an AARP report. One way to offset the expenses or lack of professional caretakers is to use a medical alert system. This way, elderly people living alone can still contact help in the case of an unexpected event, such as a harmful fall.

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