Feb 25, 2011 7:31 PM by Carolyn Cerda

Medicare Cuts, Less In-Home Care

Almost 100 home healthcare administrators are now without a job. This, after Louisiana Healthcare Group, or "LHC" in Lafayette if forced to make cuts. And, cutbacks in Medicare are the reason. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services imposed a 5% reimbursement cut on all medicare home health services. The 80 people laid off do no not work directly with patients. But, some companies fear that employees who provide care to patients at home, could also be affected.

"As a company, it's concerning that we're faced with another reduction in reimbursement by medicare to the home industry," said Monica Rougeau, with Synergy Home Care."Bottom line, potentially it could reduce the number of visits that we're able to provide as well as the types of visits."

The 5% cut means that companies like Synergy Home Care will get less money from the government for treating medicare patients, making them less profitable.

"Just having that significant of a cut to your reimbursement, your revenue, is going to impact how you do business," said Rougeau.

But, some healthcare professionals say providing in-home care actually saves the government money in the long run.

"The research shows that care at home is the most cost efficient way to car for senior citizens," said Warren Hebert, with Homecare Association of Louisiana. "Care at home helps to keep patients out of hospitals and as a result helps to keep down overall healthcare costs."

In Louisiana, there are nearly 80,000 Medicare patients who receive home care each year. These patients are battling diabetes, heart disease, emphysema, kidney disease, and other health issues. Hebert says healthcare companies, however, do not have a choice in the matter. He says, if they choose to provide service to Medicare patients, they have to continue to follow federal guidelines receiving whatever Medicare deems is due to them.



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