Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), the Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, and Ben Cardin (D-MD) have re-introduced the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act  of 2017 S.445. The bill will improve the access Medicare beneficiaries have to home health care by allowing physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and certified nurse midwives to order home health services, all of which are playing increasingly important roles in the delivery of health care, particularly in rural and underserved areas of our nation. Rep. Chris Collins R-NY introduced the House companion bill.   H.R. 1825 . Under current law, only physicians are allowed to certify or initiate home health care for Medicare patients, even though they may not be as familiar with the patient’s case as the non-physician provider.

The Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act removes the needless delays in getting Medicare patients the home health care they need simply because a physician is not available to sign the form required by law.

LeadingAge thanks Sens. Collins and Cardin as well as Rep. Chris Collins for their commitment to prevent any delays in access to home health services. These delays result in emergency room visits and in-patient hospital stays.