Situation Report | February 8, 2021
HCA and other state home care associations recently signed on to a letter to Congress, being prepared by the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC), on the need for commensurate funding with any federal minimum wage change.
The still-draft letter requests that, if Congress increases the minimum wage, federal and state reimbursement (Medicare and Medicaid) must be increased for home health agencies to allow for payment.
HCA and NAHC have long held that home care workers should be compensated in a manner that reflects the valuable service they provide to their patients. Further, inadequate compensation should never serve as a disincentive pushing prospective workers away from the home care and hospice industry. However, payment rates for federally funded programs often only cover wage costs but not additional costs: training and supervision of staff, administrative functions like scheduling or billing, and the employer tax share of Social Security, workers’ compensation, and unemployment compensation.
The draft letter stresses that the twin goals of a federal minimum wage increase and maintaining home care cannot be done successfully unless the associated federal and state payment rates for home care programs are concurrently increased.
In situations of private pay, the draft letter says, Congress should create a tax credit or subsidy for consumers so that they may maintain the level of care they need.
HCA appreciates the support from our Board of Directors in signing on to this important Congressional letter from NAHC, and HCA will keep the membership informed of any updates.