Home Health & Hospice

Weekly roundup

Homecare Insider, May 2, 2016

Change allows hospices to bill directly for preventive vaccines

CMS has just issued Change Request 9052/Transmittal 3503, which allows hospices to bill Medicare for covered preventive vaccines (influenza virus, pneumococcal, and hepatitis B) directly on the institutional claim rather than requiring them to secure and maintain separate enrollment and bill vaccines as a Medicare Part B Supplier. The change will take effect October 1.

The change provides “administrative simplification for both hospices and Medicare,” CMS stated last week. “If the services are billable on institutional claims, hospices will not need to maintain separate billing systems to create professional claim formats for vaccine services or to submit paper CMS-1500 claim forms for these services.” The program will reduce the number of enrollments as well as reduce claims processing workloads for paper claim submissions.

Source: NAHC

Cash-strapped Illinois moves to ban overtime for homecare
Illinois social service advocates fear a new ban on most overtime for workers in the Illinois Home Services Program (HSP), which went into effect May 1, will disrupt care for disabled home health patients. The ban on overtime is the latest battleground in the state’s fiscal crisis. Illinois has been locked in a budget stalemate for months now, with the governor and legislature at an impasse on state spending.

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration says Illinois can't afford to comply with a recent federal ruling requiring overtime for homecare workers, at time-and-a-half. An Associated Press (AP) analysis of hours worked shows overtime pay would cost about $14 million annually. The AP analysis also found that about one-quarter of assistants work overtime, for an average $2,000 extra per year.

The program serves disabled Illinois residents under 60, and includes a range of home health and in-home care services. HSP workers argue the ban will create gaps in care because they will only be permitted to work 35 hours, with five hours for travel, regardless of the preferences of their patients.

Source: Belleville News Democrat, AP

Next CMS Home Health and Hospice forum is slated for May 4
CMS’ next Home Health, Hospice & Durable Medical Equipment Open Door Forum is scheduled for Wednesday, May 4, from 2:00-3:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET). The forum agenda includes the following announcements and updates:  
•    Implementation of Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) Prior Authorization: Discussion of codes under CMS consideration
•    FY 2017 Hospice NPRM payment updates and quality reporting
•    Medicaid Home Health Face-to-Face final rule (CMS 2348-F) provisions and implementation requirements
•    Medicare Home Health Value Based Purchasing
•    Home Health and IMPACT Act upcoming stakeholder engagement opportunities

The forum will be a conference call only, and participants need not RSVP. To participate, call 1-800-837-1935 and use conference ID: 39979021.

Source: CMS

Act would fund additional hospice, palliative care training
S.2748, the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA) introduced in the Senate last month, has been referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin sponsored the measure. The bill was introduced in the House last July, sponsored by New York Representative Eliot Engle, with 99 bipartisan cosponsors, according to the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM). It was referred to the House Subcommittee on Health.

The Act would establish education centers to improve the training of interdisciplinary health professionals in palliative care, develop and disseminate curricula relating to palliative care, support continuing education, fund clinical training in appropriate sites of care, and provide traineeships for advanced practice nurses.

Source: AAHPM