Home Health & Hospice

Weekly roundup

Homecare Insider, February 22, 2016

CMS finalizes shorter risk period for overpayments
CMS has released its final overpayment rule, requiring that improper payments from the last six years are reported and returned for health care providers of Medicare Parts A and B. Overpayments are those that are in excess of amounts properly payable under Medicare statutes and regulations, CMS stated.

Under the final rule, overpayments must be reported and returned only if a person identifies the overpayment within six years of the date the overpayment was received. This final rule requires providers and suppliers receiving funds under the Medicare program to report and return overpayments by the later of the date that is 60 days after the date on which the overpayment was identified; or the date any corresponding cost report is due, if applicable.

When CMS first proposed the rule, in 2012, the “loopback period” for returning overpayments was 10 years. Although the final rule reduces that time to six years, CMS estimates the resources necessary to self-identify overpayments from that time period will range from $120 million to $201 million.

Source: Home Health Care News, Federal Register

JAMA: Unpaid caregivers may not know their options

Family and unpaid caregivers commonly help older adults who are at high risk for poorly coordinated care, but caregivers who provide the most assistance with healthcare experience significant emotional difficulty and role-related effects, according to a Journal of the American Medical Association study published online last week. Furthermore, these caregivers may not know when they have options for homecare or hospice assistance.

Researchers from the Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, and others studied 1739 family and unpaid caregivers of 1171 community-dwelling older adults with disabilities who participated in the 2011 National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS) and National Study of Caregiving (NSOC).

Almost half of the caregivers providing substantial help with healthcare assisted an older adult with dementia. Caregivers providing substantial help with healthcare provided 28.1 hours of assistance per week.

The use of supportive services was greater among caregivers providing substantial healthcare than for those providing some or no help (almost 27% vs. less than 16% and just under 8%, respectively). Caregivers providing substantial help with healthcare were significantly more likely to experience emotional difficulty, physical difficulty, and financial difficulty than caregivers providing no help, according to the st

Source: JAMA Network

Bill would cover telehealth, remote monitoring in Medicare Advantage
Both houses of Congress have presented legislation to remove Medicare barriers to telemedicine use. Proponents of the Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies (CONNECT) for Health Act claim the bill could generate $1.8 billion in savings over 10 years. Unveiled by Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) as S-2484, and by Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) as H-4442, the CONNECT for Health Act would create an opportunity for more providers to incorporate telemedicine into their practices.

The CONNECT for Health Act would act as a bridge to assist providers in the transition to the new Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, with the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System, by removing some restrictions to telehealth and remote patient monitoring under Medicare. Qualifying providers participating in MACRA's alternative payment models, for example, will be allowed to use patient monitoring for patients with chronic conditions.

The bill has been read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on Finance. In the House, the bill has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee, according to Congress.gov.

Source: Healthcare IT News, Congress.gov

Research shows HBPC reduces in-patient care, may cut costs
Research published recently by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) indicates home-based primary care (HBPC) reduces use of inpatient care and may lwoer costs, although additional studies are needed to determine whether HBPC affects use of other health services.

Researchers at Pacific Northwest Evidence-based Practice Center in Portland, Oregon, reviewed randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and observational studies of HBPC, including home visits by a primary care provider, longitudinal management, and comprehensive care.

"Future research should focus on the content and organizational context of HBPC interventions so that experiences can be replicated or improved on by others. Additional research is also needed about which patients benefit most from HBPC and how HBPC can best be used in the continuum of care,” researchers concluded. 

Source: AHRQ

Forum hears Kasich’s, Sanders’ views on aging in place
Only two of the eight Presidential contenders were represented at a forum hosted last week by the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO) at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont attended the event via live videoconference. Ohio Governor John Kasich sent former Congressman Tom Davis to the forum in his place.

Sanders noted that providing care in someone’s home is less expensive than caring for that individual in an institutional setting, and seniors who prefer to age in their own homes should not be forced into a facility. 

When questioned about Kasich’s positions on senior-related issues, Davis hinted that Kasich may be amenable to changing Medicare to support long-term care supports and services, as he has done in Ohio.

Source: Home Health Care News

Complimentary white paper!
According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, a hospice should deliver systematic orientation, training, and competency evaluations to all new employees and volunteers before they assume responsibility at the organization.

To drive these efforts, HCPro has created the Hospice Orientation for the Interdisciplinary Team White Paper, a training compendium that helps new care staff navigate the core philosophies and practices that shape a quality hospice program.

Based on the expert-vetted education in HCPro’s Hospice Orientation for the Interdisciplinary Team training video, this complimentary white paper arms new hospice care professionals with knowledge on essential industry concepts and approaches from the start. Covered topics include:
• History and philosophy of hospice care
• Current utilization patterns
• Interdisciplinary team roles and responsibilities
• Medicare eligibility and payment requirements

Click here to access your complimentary white paper today.

For even more orientation resources, check out the Hospice Orientation for the Interdisciplinary Team training video at www.hcmarketplace.com, call us at 800-650-6787, or email Mary Stevens at mstevens@hcpro.com.