It was easy to think it was an early April Fools joke: $400 billion for home- and community-based care? You’ve got to be kidding.
Yet that is the proposal that the Biden administration presented earlier this week — providing a long-awaited boost to a segment of healthcare that has received a lot of favorable attention over the last year.
Obviously, Congress still has to pass the American Jobs Plan, but the president has thrown down the gauntlet of what is possible for the field. It is on lawmakers now to try to defy (or deny) what so many older Americans truly are desiring.
The home care industry, for its part, has identified a powerful ally in the White House. And they can use their champion’s ambitious proposal to spread their message about the need to grow access to home care for seniors, and living wages for employees to help attract qualified people to the field. Because the administration has been short on the program’s specifics, the industry can use this ambitious plan as a springboard to promote its causes. Among them:
- Appropriate Medicaid reimbursement rates to home care to support staffing costs
- More robust training for home care workers
- A star ratings system for the home care industry to provide much-needed comparative data
- An expansion of the medical services that home care professionals can provide
- A push for Medicaid to pay for additional services, such as palliative care
Biden’s program presents a golden opportunity for home care. Seize the day.
Liza Berger is editor of McKnight’s Home Care. Email her at email@example.com and follow her @LizaBerger19.