BAKERSFIELD: Home Health Care Companies Concerned About Limits
Bakersfield area home health companies say that new Medicare spending limits "could reduce the amount of care available through the popular health care option," the Bakersfield Californian reports. According to Darlyn Baker, owner of Interim HealthCare, "[c]ompanies may very well opt to take fewer patients, making the service less available." She noted that home health care services help keep many older adults "out of hospitals and nursing homes." She said, "People seem to have a better attitude when they can stay at home. Everything is familiar to them."
About 30 "health care professionals met last week to start a collective effort to deal with the limits," the Californian reports. At the end of the meeting, Baker "challenged the group to find other community resources to serve the home health needs and to come up with and share any ideas for ways to provide the same care more cheaply." According to state figures, there are 9,490 home health patients in the area who receive an average of 26.6 home health visits annually. Baker said that while the government should impose some restrictions to fight health care fraud, the new ones are too "strict." However, Chris Peacock, a spokesperson for the Medicare program, said, "It (home health) is an important benefit that Medicare is committed to providing. It's also committed to making sure it's only billed for services that should be paid for." According to Peacock, there are still enough home health providers in the area for all patients to find providers that will accept them (Ludwig, 3/4).