Tag Archives | home health

Obama Budget Contains Numerous Post-Acute Care Cuts

President Obama introduced his fiscal year (“FY”) 2015 budget yesterday, and there are many proposed cuts to post-acute care providers.  Some of the highlights include a number of bundled payment initiatives, a $100 co-pay for home health patients not discharged from a hospital and re-admission penalties for skilled nursing facilities (“SNFs”) with high hospital re-admissions.  This information was provided to the Hall Render Post-Acute Practice Group from John Williams, who leads Hall Render’s Federal Advocacy Practice Group from the firm’s office in Washington, D.C.  Continue Reading →

CMS Extends and Expands Home Health Enrollment Moratoria

Effective January 31, 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) has issued a temporary moratoria for the enrollment of home health agencies in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Detroit, Michigan; Dallas, Texas; and Houston, Texas.  CMS also announced it is extending the current enrollment moratoria in Chicago, Illinois and Miami, Florida for another six months.  The initial use of the temporary moratoria on July 1, 2013 focused on three fraud “hot spot” areas.  Continue Reading →

Rebasing Has Arrived – CMS Publishes Home Health PPS 2014 Proposed Rule

On June 27, 2013, CMS released the proposed home health prospective payment rule (the “PPS Rule”) for calendar year 2014.  While refinements to the ICD-9-CM and discussions of ICD-10-CM implementation are of interest, the most notable change to the PPS Rule for 2014 is CMS’s long-awaited proposal for rebasing home health payments.  Once it is in effect, rebasing will have a severe impact on home health reimbursement over the next four years.  In addition to rebasing, the proposed PPS Rule addresses several other areas of the home health payment system.  The proposed PPS Rule outlines certain home health quality reporting requirements beginning in 2014 and provides clarification regarding state Medicaid programs’ financial responsibility for state survey agency activities.

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CMS Revises Policy as to Surveys to Be Conducted Following Complaint Investigations Resulting in Condition-Level Noncompliance

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) recently released a Survey and Certification letter updating the State Operations Manual (“SOM”) guidelines  on surveys of deemed status long-term care (“LTC”) providers when the provider has been found to have a condition level instance of noncompliance, including immediate jeopardy (“IJ”), in a complaint survey.  This change in policy only applies to “deemed status providers.”  Deemed status is available when an approved accrediting organization (“AO”), separate from CMS, determines the provider is in compliance with Medicare conditions.  This “deemed status” will largely exempt the provider from routine surveys by the State Agency (“SA”) but still requires the provider to comply with all applicable Medicare conditions.  Nursing facilities are largely not eligible for deemed status; however, home health agencies (“HHAs”) and hospice and rehabilitation agencies are eligible.

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Sequestration Cuts Impact Nursing Homes and Post-Acute Care Providers

In a transmittal issued on April 5, 2013, CMS provided guidance on survey activities that will be affected by the sequestration cuts.  The transmittal provides guidance on several areas that will have an immediate and potentially negative effect on nursing homes and post-acute care providers.  These changes will affect the survey process as conducted by the state survey agencies.

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Inappropriate and Questionable Billing by Medicare Home Health Agencies

Data collected and analyzed by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) since 2010, indicate that home health agencies (HHAs) are predisposed to commit Medicare fraud, waste and abuse. In 2010, Medicare inappropriately paid $5 million for erroneous claims submitted by HHAs. With one in four claims being suspect, the OIG established six (6) criteria that identify HHAs submitting potentially fraudulent claims and/or employing questionable billing practices. Primarily, these criteria are based on higher than average payments, visits, late episodes, therapy visits and Medicare payment amounts per beneficiary, as well as a higher than average number of beneficiaries. Continue Reading →

CMS Releases 2012 Nursing Home Action Plan

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) just released the 2012 Nursing Home Action Plan; a guide for CMS’ efforts to continue to improve nursing home safety and quality.  The plan features 5 actionable strategies, including: enhance consumer engagement; strengthen survey processes, standards, and enforcement; promote quality improvement; create strategic approaches through partnerships; and advance quality through innovation and demonstration.  Continue Reading →

Home Health Agency Patient Surveys Now Available for Consumers

Consumers can now compare results from home health agencies (HHA) patient surveys on the Quality Care Finder website.  These results are designed to create incentives for HHAs to improve quality of care, as well as to give patients additional information as to the type of care they will receive from a particular agency.  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) also states one of the goals of such public reporting is to enhance accountability by increasing transparency.  Continue Reading →

CMS Revises Initial Certification Process for HHAs

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued revisions to the process Home Health Agencies (HHA) must undergo prior to initial certification.  The revised process adds an additional review of enrollment criteria performed by the Regional Home Health Intermediary (RHHI) or Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC).   Continue Reading →

Proposed Wage Regulations for Home Care Workers

The Department of Labor published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in late December aimed at giving the nation’s nearly two million home care workers minimum wage and overtime protections.  These workers have long been working  under an exemption from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as “companion” employees.   Continue Reading →

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