Government a Barrier to Senior Home Care

WASHINGTON, May 28 (UPI) — Politicians, including President Barack Obama, support home-based care for the elderly, but the U.S. home care trade group says Medicare is a barrier to care.

Tyler Wilson, president of the American Association for Homecare, says public officials embrace the aging-at-home concept, but the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees Medicare, advocates for policies and regulations that will restrict patient access to medical equipment, such as power wheelchairs and oxygen.

For example, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has enacted a 36-month cap on oxygen reimbursement, for Medicare beneficiaries who live at home. In another example, the government has tried to curb costs with a 37 percent price-cut for power wheelchairs, the association says.

A study published in Health Affairs found Medicare pays $10,770 a year less for beneficiaries with power chairs because they need fewer hospitalizations and emergency room visits associated with falls and fall-related injuries.

“It’s puzzling that our government keeps enacting policies that make it more difficult for Medicare beneficiaries to obtain the medical equipment that can help them stay in their homes longer and save taxpayer dollars,” Wilson says in a statement.

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