As a home health care provider here in Maine, we greatly appreciate the recent introduction of a bill in Congress that will improve access for Medicare beneficiaries by allowing mid-level practitioners to order home health services.

Sen. Susan Collins has introduced the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act, which instructs the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to allow nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives and physician assistants to sign home health plans of care. These practitioners are playing increasingly important roles in the delivery of necessary medical services to Medicare beneficiaries, especially in rural and under-served areas. They are often more familiar with particular cases than the attending physician, thus allowing them to sign orders would be most appropriate.

Androscoggin Home Care & Hospice is Maine’s largest independent home health and hospice agency with a service area that includes plantations and unorganized territories throughout Androscoggin, Franklin, Northern Cumberland and Oxford counties, as well as parts of Kennebec, Sagadahoc and Somerset counties. Providing services in the home can play a tremendous role by treating more people in a cost-effective manner at a fraction of the cost of other institutional settings — all in the patient-preferred setting of the home.

We at Androscoggin Home Care & Hospice applaud the work of Sen. Collins and ask that others in Congress follow her lead to ensure that services are more readily available and that care to the beneficiary will not be interrupted.

Kenneth Albert, president/CEO, Androscoggin Home Care & Hospice, Lewiston

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