Readers Prescribe Solutions for Overcrowded ERs and High Out-of-Pocket Expenses

Lawmakers Must Protect Home Health To Alleviate Hospital Bottlenecks

The issue of seniors stranded in emergency rooms awaiting care highlights the urgent need for better support for older Americans. With hospital beds in short supply, the backlog of patients awaiting discharge to home health care adds to the strain on emergency rooms. Home health care, provided through Medicare, not only allows patients to receive care in the comfort of their own homes but also frees up hospital beds and eases the burden on hospital staff.

Unfortunately, years of Medicare cuts have made it challenging for home health providers to meet the increasing demand for services. The repeated cuts to the Medicare home health program by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have led to a total of $19 billion in cuts through 2029, affecting the quality of care provided and the ability to recruit and retain staff. To address this issue, Congress must pass the Preserving Access to Home Health Act (S 2137/HR 5159) to prevent steep payment cuts to the Medicare Home Health Program in the future.

No patient should have to endure long waits in an emergency room when in need of care. By stopping the cuts to the Medicare home health program, Congress can ensure that patients have access to high-quality care while also relieving the strain on hospitals facing a crisis.

In response to a reader’s comment about patients using emergency rooms for nonemergency care, it is essential to address the reasons behind this behavior and provide better avenues for appropriate care outside of emergency rooms. Additionally, concerns about the availability and efficacy of certain medical devices like dental appliances should be taken seriously to ensure patient safety.

Overall, the importance of protecting home health care services, addressing the misuse of emergency rooms, and ensuring the safety of medical devices are crucial steps in improving the healthcare system and providing better care for all individuals in need. By prioritizing these issues, policymakers can work towards a more effective and efficient healthcare system that meets the needs of patients across the country.

In conclusion, the article highlights the critical role of home health care in alleviating hospital bottlenecks and providing quality care to older Americans. By addressing the challenges facing home health providers and implementing policies to protect and support these services, lawmakers can make significant strides in improving the healthcare system for everyone.

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