Kaiser Health News, March 25, 2011

Home health agencies, hospitals and consumer groups are complaining that a new rule intended to curb unnecessary Medicare spending will make it harder for senior citizens to get home care services. Under the requirement, which takes effect April 1, Medicare beneficiaries will have to see a doctor 90 days before or 30 days after starting home health services in order for the home health agency to get reimbursed. That face-to-face visit may be a burden for some home-bound frail seniors as well as those living in rural areas, the industry says. But some Medicare experts have little sympathy for industry complaints. "Home health is a benefit that is out of control," said Robert Berenson, MD, a health policy expert at the Urban Institute.
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