The “Future Leaders” conference starts today and over 30 new AHCA/NCAL advocates are in Washington D.C. to receive leadership training, learn about current skilled nursing legislative issues, and ultimately lobby their members of Congress at a critical time for post-acute care (PAC).
The 35 advocates, all representing different states, will travel to Capitol Hill Thursday just as lawmakers are nearing the final negotiation on legislation that would fund the government past the end of the month. The continuing resolution to appropriate funding is the last piece of must-pass legislation on which members of Congress must act before they return to their home states to hit the campaign trail one last time.
The fly-in comes at a critical time, as the Way & Means Committee is considering changes to the way in which post-acute care providers receive Medicare payments. The Medicare Post-Acute Care Value-Based Purchasing Act of 2015 (H.R. 3298), sponsored by the Committee Chairman, Rep. Kevin Brady, seeks to reward PAC providers based on performance and cost savings and move away from the current volume-centric system.
AHCA/NCAL and several other PAC providers have denounced the legislation in its current form and have instead proposed a list of changes that need to be made to the bill in order for it to garner support. The changes focus on ensuring that providers are not receiving, on whole, a cut to Medicare rates and ensuring quality, not cost savings, is kept as the primary objective of the new program.
The “Future Leader” advocates will speak to their members of Congress about these changes and urge them and their colleagues to take into account the concerns of AHCA/NCAL and the PAC community as this bill moves forward.
Advocates will also urge lawmakers to support The Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act of 2015 (S. 843/H.R. 1571), which removes the observation days barrier to patients seeking to receive a skilled care Medicare benefit after staying three days in a hospital.