Home Health & Hospice

Weekly roundup

Homecare Insider, April 23, 2016

CMS proposes hospice changes for FY2017

CMS last week issued a proposed rule to update the hospice wage index, payment rates, and cap amount for fiscal year (FY) 2017.As proposed, hospices would see a 2% increase in their payments for FY 2017. The hospice cap amount proposed for the 2017 cap year will be $28,377.17 per patient. The rule also proposes changes to the hospice quality reporting program (HQRP), including two new quality measures:

  • Hospice Visits When Death is Imminent, a measure to assess hospice staff visits to patients and caregivers in the last week of life
  • Hospice and Palliative Care Composite Process Measure, to assess the percentage of hospice patients who received care processes consistent with guidelines. This measure will be based on select measures from the seven that are currently submitted under HQRP.

The proposed rule solicits feedback on an enhanced Hospice Item Set (HIS) data collection instrument that is more in line with other postacture care assessment tools. HIS will be a comprehensive patient assessment instrument, rather than the current chart abstraction tool, with an integrated core standard data set.

The complete proposed rule can be found at Federal Register’s Public Inspection Desk.  Public comments on the proposal will be accepted until June 20.

Source: CMS

Join our home health book review group!

HCPro is seeking enthusiastic home health administrators and directors, clinical supervisors, staff educators, and coding and billing experts to join an ad-hoc group interested in reading and reviewing prepublication drafts of books and training materials in your areas of interest and expertise.

Our editors will send you periodic emails listing upcoming projects available for outside review. If you’re interested, just let us know. We’ll send reviewing guidelines and give you an idea of our timeframe. If it works for you, we’ll send the draft chapters as they’re available, and a printed copy of the book when it’s complete. In addition, you will be recognized as a reviewer inside the printed book. We might also ask for your feedback on topics in your area of expertise.

Please have a minimum of five years of home health experience and be in an educational, supervisory, or leadership role within your organization.

For more information or to sign up as a reviewer, please send an email including your areas of interest and expertise to Tami Swartz at tswartz@hcpro.com.

OAA is the law of the land (again)

Both branches of a fractious Congress agree with the President on at least one thing: It’s time to reinstate the Older Americans Act (OAA). The House and Senate earlier this spring reauthorized the OAA—originally enacted in 1965—and last week President Obama signed the Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2016 into law.

The OAA Reauthorization Act reestablishes funding, for three years, for services that enable millions of older adults to remain in their homes including Meals on Wheels, caregiver support, legal services, and elder abuse protection.

The OAA had expired at the end of 2011, when Congress failed to approve reauthorization legislation. Reauthorizing the act has been a priority for the Obama Administration, which allocated an increase of $138 million to fund OAA services in the FY 2016 proposed budget.

Source: HHS

Unified PAC payment plan gets the nod from MedPAC

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has voted to move forward with a plan to create a single payment system across all postacute care services. The impetus for the unified system is to reduce care costs, improve care management, and move away from the fee-for-service (FFS) model.

The new payment model, outlined in MedPAC’s meeting earlier this month, would reimburse for patient conditions rather than settings in which care was provided. The commission noted that payment adjustments should be made for home health agencies, to reflect the setting’s “considerably lower costs.” A prospective payment system will not be the cure-all for moving completely away from the current FFS schemes in postacute care, but policies to change the disparate payment systems are a step in the right direction, MedPAC stated.

Source: Home Health Care News, MedPAC