Medicare members and caregivers for those suffering with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis and other chronic diseases were applauding a federal judge’s recent decision this week. According to an article published by AARP, the approval of a proposed settlement agreement paves the way for Medicare beneficiaries to receive needed health services to maintain their current level of functioning.
“The settlement, which represents a significant change in Medicare coverage rules, ends Medicare’s longstanding practice of requiring people to show a likelihood of improvement in order to receive coverage of skilled care and therapy services,” AARP explained. “The Agr
eement, which is retroactive to the date the suit was filed – January 18, 2011 — includes skilled services covered by Medicare Part A and Part B, such as speech, occupational or physical therapy, nursing and home health services, even when the goal is maintaining the patient’s current condition rather than requiring that the patient improve.”
Before the measure passed, Medicare members have been denied services if they did not result in past improvements. Because of those denials, the health of many was put in jeopardy. Due to a lack of a cure for many diseases, maintenance health services are sometimes the only option.
According to the Center for Medicare Advocacy, “providing maintenance services will save money in the long run, preventing decline, hospitalizations and need for more expensive services.”