Merrily Orsini's Thought Leadership

Is reporting coming to a state near you?

You may want to cover your eyes for a moment and skip right over what I’m about to say, but it is, unfortunately, tax season. After the festivities of the holidays, tax time seems to broadside us back into reality, with the need to set our focus on pulling together all of the necessary documentation to ensure we’re accurately reporting each and every expense, and that no stone is left unturned in recouping what we’re entitled to.

Reporting is no less crucial in the home care and home health care realms, especially with the burgeoning senior population. And yet, startlingly, statistics for both Medicaid and privately paid home care services are both, for the most part, unregulated and unreported. Wondering how many safe, reliable options there are for in-home care for seniors in any given region of the U.S? So am I.

With services varying widely in each state, there are no common definitions of care, language, supervisory requirements, educational or professional requirements that are standard. And if it’s this convoluted for those of us who know the industry, just imagine how it feels for consumers taking that first tentative step into the world of home care, who already likely didn’t even realize such a service existed, let alone the intricate details involved in finding and obtaining appropriate care.

Like it or not, change and overhaul are on the horizon for our country as a whole, including how we care for our older population as it increases. To that end, the GAO (Government Accountability Office) has recently recommended that the CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) “unify and harmonize the federal program requirements for programs that provide personal care services.”

The HHS (Department of Health and Human Services) is on board and is already taking steps to implement. Between the more than 70 million Americans utilizing Medicaid, at a cost projected to reach a staggering $642 billion over the next ten years, and the explosion of older adults expected to reach 86 million by 2050, it’s the perfect time to get our ducks in a row. Synchronizing requirements on a federal level for personal care services is a great first step.

Now, if only we could begin to simplify tax time…