To the editor:
Thank you to Congressman Tom Latham for supporting home health care for Iowa's senior and disabled populations and for raising awareness about the negative consequences of recent Medicare home health cuts among his colleagues in the House of Representatives.
Starting in January, major funding cuts for the Medicare home health benefit went into effect. Over the next four years, payment rates will be cut by 3.5 percent annually, amounting to a total unprecedented cut of 14 percent.
Analysis indicates that a cut of this magnitude will cause nearly 44 percent of home health agencies in Iowa to operate with negative margins by the time the cut takes full effect. Many of these agencies will be forced to close their doors or file for bankruptcy.
This is bad news for the 24,000 Iowa seniors who depend on quality, skilled healthcare delivered in the comfort and safety of their own homes and the 6,600 healthcare professionals who deliver this care. Unless the home health cut is addressed by Congress, many seniors could lose access to care and many hardworking individuals may find themselves without a job.
I stand with Congressman Latham in calling for Washington to reverse these harmful cuts and protect skilled home healthcare for our nation's seniors.
Vice president and chief clinical officer, UnityPoint at Home