Home-care cuts defy logic

To the editor:

I am a home-care nurse from Rochester, and I just returned from a trip to Capitol Hill with nurses from every state in America. We were there on behalf of our patients to help preserve access to home care and hospice services amid $13 billion in suggested cuts to the home health benefit in the Obama administration’s proposed 2010 budget.

I support expanded access to health care, but not at the expense of my patients who rely on home care each and every day.

These cuts are being proposed despite research that shows home care is more cost effective than institutional care. The average home-care visit costs Medicare $150; the average hospital day costs $1,500. Anyone can do this simple math.

But equally important is the fact that nine out of 10 senior citizens say they would prefer to receive health care in the comfort and familiar surroundings of home rather than in an institution. These proposed cuts will jeopardize the ability of Americans — including 78 million baby boomers who are entering retirement age — to choose home care.

Virtually every American knows or loves someone who is ill, in declining health or living with a chronic medical condition who wants to stay in their own home while they receive treatment. Please contact your representatives in Congress or visit HelpUsChooseHome.com to learn what you can do to preserve the Medicare home health benefit in Washington.

Nicki Smith
Rochester District
Visiting Nurse Association

Categories: Cook on Concord