OAHC Advocacy Success: Meeting with Sen. Wyden on Home Health Act of 2023 
[October 13, 2023]

Last Friday, NAHC President, Bill Dombi, alongside several of our dedicated OAHC members, engaged in a vital discussion with Senator Wyden in Portland. The primary focus of this meeting was to convey our profound concerns regarding the potential payment reductions and their far-reaching consequences. We emphasized that the Medicare margins proposed by MedPAC are an inadequate metric for assessing the financial health of home health agencies. We also underscored the critical importance of suspending impending payment cuts by supporting the Preserving Access to Home Health Act of 2023 (S.2137/H.R.5159).

OAHC members shared real-world accounts of how these cuts have negatively impacted patient access to care across the state. Furthermore, they highlighted the significant challenges in recruiting and retaining nurses and therapists in home health.

While it was encouraging that Senator Wyden agreed to meet with our members, it became apparent that there is still work to be done in helping him gain a complete understanding of the intricacies of home health and the skill level required by nurses and therapists. Senator Wyden did express a willingness to support staffing through the utilization of FQHCs to create pathways for high school students to foster interest in healthcare careers. While this is a step in the right direction, it does not immediately address the pressing workforce needs that our providers are facing. The Senator also voiced support for directing funds to the neediest programs, but it remained uncertain whether he was specifically referring to home health programs.

We extend our gratitude to Bill Dombi and the NAHC staff for their efforts in coordinating this meeting and providing valuable data to enable each attending member to share their personal experiences and educate Senator Wyden on the enduring repercussions of these proposed cuts on our providers and the quality of care they offer. A special thank you is also due to our OAHC Board members, Holli Holland and Jamie Daugherty, as well as OAHC members Stephanie Ortiz-Grabe, Michael Robinson, and Eric Van Houten, for their active participation in this crucial meeting and for sharing their compelling stories.

The battle continues! With potential cuts amounting to $25 billion over the next decade, it is imperative that lawmakers hear your voices. The more Congress members hear from their constituents, the more likely they are to reconsider and halt these detrimental cuts.

Let's unite and ensure our voices resonate. Contact your lawmakers today!