US 'Healthcare reform' cuts home health support

While US ‘healthcare reform’ continues to be debated, the details of the 2000+ page bills in the House of Representative and the Senate also continue to be revealed.  One contradictory detail is the $43 million cut in Medicare (Senate version; $55 million in House) payments to home health agencies that provide nursing care and therapy.  That directly contradicts the stated goal (see below) to reduce Medicare patients’ hospital readmissions.  Where will the savings come from?  ‘Increased productivity.’  ‘Eliminate waste and inefficiency.’ Yet Medicare’s Chief Actuary states the productivity savings are unrealistic. (Galen Institute commentary).

New York Times articles, Home Care Patients Worry Over Possible Cuts, Senate Clears Way for Home Health Care Cuts

What is curious is the endorsement of these bills by the National Association of Home Care and Hospice (NAHC).  Yet they bemoan the cuts to home health agencies, well expressed by the executive director of one of their major members, the Minnesota Home Care Association’s Neil Johnson (quoted in the political blog ‘Hot Air’, scroll down.)

Remote monitoring technology (telecare, telehealth and in-home telemedicine) may help in this labor-intensive area.  Yet funding will be needed for systems, installation, nurse monitoring, etc. where ROI is not yet proven.  Your opinions please.