While President Biden’s Build Back Better (BBB) Act met Senate defeat in December 2021 after an incredibly close vote, there’s still hope that some version of the original may pass later this year. But if that happens, what does it mean for hospice and home health providers? Where does the BBB impact their day-to-day operations and long-term goals? Here’s what to know.
What is the Build Back Better Act?
A long-standing promise by the Biden campaign to improve U.S. healthcare, environmental, and caregiving frameworks, the Build Back Better Plan originally called for $3.5 trillion in spending over the next 10 years.1 While parts of the plan — such as the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act for COVID-19 relief and the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act — were passed into law, the “care economy” portion of the bill faced stiff opposition.
It was reworked into the Build Back Better Act which saw proposed funding for home- and community-based healthcare services slashed from $400 to $150 billion, and the amount earmarked for hospice and palliative care specifically cut to $100 million. Even with these changes, the act failed to pass the Senate late last year, but efforts are still underway to find a compromise that delivers on at least some of the promises made.2
How Could the BBB Affect Hospices?
If the BBB is successful in getting past the Senate on its second try, what could it mean for hospice and home health care?
Three potential impacts include:
- More money for education and training
As noted by the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC), the BBB would potentially include a $100 million investment in palliative and hospice care directly. Thirty million would be earmarked to fund training for both palliative and hospice care staff, while $20 million would be used to fund improved physician training, and another $20 million would go toward training and education for hospice care nursing staff.3
- Improved career development
The revamped bill also includes $20 million in funding to promote career development through the use of career awards that recognize the critical impact of staff both in hospice and in training facilities.
- Enhanced care services
In addition, the BBB looks to enhance care services on several fronts. First is $10 million to help better educate the public on the role of palliative and hospice care, along with $40 million for programs that help unpaid caregivers — such as family members providing hospice-type care in-home — connect with trained staff to learn more about the hospice care process and to access relief from full-time care duties.4
If the BBB passes, in any form, the result is more funding for hospice care. Although exact amounts and allocations are yet to be determined, the act is a critical step in recognizing the increasingly critical role of hospice care in a post-COVID world. With the number of hospice and home health patients on the rise, combined with growing skills and labor gaps in the healthcare industry, it’s more critical than ever for hospice staff to get the training, career support, and service programs they need to deliver patient-centered care.
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Best Practices to Eliminate Compliance Gaps in Hospices
1 Congress.gov, “H.R.5367 – Build Back Better Act,” September 27, 2021.
2 PoliticsNY, “Pelosi Says Dems Might Take Another Pass at Build Back Better,” March 14, 2022.
3 The Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC), “What the Build Back Better Plan Means for People Living With Serious Illness,” November 3, 2021.
4 Hospice News, “White House ‘Build Back Better’ Framework to Include $100 Million to Build Out Hospice, Palliative Care,” October 28, 2021.