Home Health & Hospice

Weekly Roundup

Homecare Insider, August 26, 2016

Home health class lawsuit denied

Collective action lawsuits have increased since federal overtime laws that affect home health care workers and their overtime have come into effect. However, many who sued for retroactive overtime pay have been denied in New York.

In Cowell v. Utopia Home Care, Inc. about 5,00 home health aides across six different states were seeking retribution for unpaid overtime during a three-year period. A New York magistrate judge ruled that the case could not be opened up to other home health workers to recover damage. The judge ruled that the old rule, which involved a companionship exemption, could not be equally and flatly applied to each plaintiff.

Since the Department of Labor (DOL) ruled that all home care workers are eligible for overtime and minimum wage protections, disputes over exemption rules could become far and few between in the future, Phillip Davidoff, a New York-based attorney with the firm that defended Utopia told Home Health Care News.

Source: Home Health Care News

Public-private partnership of remote patient monitoring hints at patient satisfaction

Two years ago, the Visiting Nurse Association launched its remote patient monitoring (RPM) project, which targeted a congested heart failure population with extremely high hospital readmission rate. Patients enrolled in the program were given MobileHelp’s home vitals tracking device, enabling them to track vitals around the clock and contact a caregiver when necessary.

The program reduced readmissions to 15%, well below the national average of 22.7%. Recently, 90% of those patients in the program decided to keep their devices using a paid-for subscription service once the pilot discontinued, indicating a high satisfaction rate.

Source: mHealth Intelligence

Stakeholders: Home health 'PPS' spells 'pay cut' (again) for CY 2017

CMS' proposed changes for the Medicare Home Health Prospective Payment System (HH PPS) for Calendar Year (CY) 2017 include the expected—a reduction in payment—but nothing that will turn the home health benefit upside down. The proposed rule does highlight CMS' steps away from fee-for-service care, and home health agencies (HHA) will be under more pressure to show the care they are providing is better than adequate, experts say.

HHAs should assess their current operations and ensure their care programs have value to patients. In planning for January 1, 2017, it might not be enough for HHAs to ensure all their patient care and reimbursement documentation is accurate and adequate—although that is certainly advisable.

CMS' proposed changes for the Medicare Home Health Prospective Payment System (PPS) for Calendar Year (CY) 2017 include:

  • Rebasing the 60-day episode rate
  • Updates to reflect case-mix weights using the most current, complete data available at the time of rulemaking
  • Changes in methodology and the fixed-dollar-loss ratio used to calculate outlier payments (episodes of care with unusual variations in the type or amount of medically necessary care)
  • Changes in payment for negative pressure wound therapy performed using a disposable device for patients under a home health plan of care
  • Additions and modifications to the Home Health Value-Based Purchasing (HH VBP) Model

Source: Homecare DIRECTION

Amedysis founder dies in floods

Amedisys Inc., one of the largest home health companies in the nation, has suffered greatly after the flooding in and near Baton Rouge, Louisiana: The company’s founder and former CEO, William “Bill” Borne, 58, die in the floods.

Borne died of accidental drowning, according to Modern Healthcare. Borne founded Amedysis in 1982 and resigned as CEO in early 2014. During his 33 years at the company, it grew into the second-largest home health care company in the nation.

The company also has hundreds of employees in Baton Rouge alone, about 30% of whom have been affected by the flooding, with damage to homes and cars. When the rains were predicted, staff began checking on patients in affected areas twice daily, as indicated by their disaster response protocol.

Source: Home Health Care News, Modern Healthcare