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Home Health, Hospice & Regulatory Blog

The HEALTHCAREfirst blog offers insights and updates to help home health and hospice professionals stay informed. From regulatory news to best practices and tips, we are committed to the success of our customers and the industry as a whole.

Medicare Fraud: Home Health & Hospice Agencies Beware

Over the years, our industry has seen reports of crimes related to Medicare fraud including conspiracy to commit health care fraud, violations of the anti-kickback statutes, and money laundering. Recently, the OIG released its Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program Report for FY2017. In its report, the OIG discusses several significant criminal and civil investigations

May 18, 2018|Tags: , |

FY2019 Hospice Proposed Rule: What You Need to Know

On April 27, 2018 CMS released the FY2019 Hospice Proposed Rule. The rule includes a proposed increase in hospice reimbursements as well as changes to the Hospital Quality Reporting Program (HQRP), although no new measures are proposed. Highlights of the FY2019 Hospice Proposed Rule include: Payment Update CMS is proposing a 1.8% increase in reimbursements to

May 11, 2018|Tags: , , |

Importance of Multi Channel Customer Service and Support

What good is powerful software without multi channel customer service and support available when you need it? Web-based home health and hospice software has many advantages including minimal upfront costs, rapid development cycles with immediate updates, no downtime for server maintenance, and the ability to use a variety of devices from anywhere, at any time.

May 4, 2018|Tags: , |

Hospital Readmission Reduction: Four Tips for Home Health Agencies

Hospital readmission reduction is a hot topic in healthcare these days. Studies show that nearly 20% of Medicare recipients discharged from a hospital were readmitted within 30 days, with 34% readmitted within 90 days. MedPAC has estimated that 12% of readmissions are avoidable, and preventing even a small portion of these readmissions could save Medicare

April 27, 2018|Tags: , |

Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI): What Home Health & Hospice Agencies Need to Know

Designed to help protect the privacy of Medicare recipients, a new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) will replace the social security number-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) for Medicare transactions such as billing, eligibility status, and claim FISS/DDE submissions starting April 1, 2018. Beginning in April, CMS will mail new Medicare cards to all people with

March 29, 2018|Tags: , |

Key Components of a Successful Hospice Interdisciplinary Team Meeting

The hospice interdisciplinary team (IDT) serves a very important function in hospice care. It includes physicians, nurses, home health aides, social workers, counselors, chaplains, therapists and trained volunteers who work together to address a hospice patient’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. The holistic approach for the hospice interdisciplinary team enables members of different disciplines to

March 23, 2018|Tags: , , |

Value of Clinical Decision Support Systems in Home Health & Hospice

Clinical decision support systems provide clinicians with logically filtered, evidence-based data combined with patient-specific data to enhance clinical decision-making at the point of care. Found in leading EHR software systems, clinical decisions support systems include: Alerts Warnings Documentation templates Clinical guidelines Contextually relevant information Condition-specific order sets How do clinical decision support systems work? The

March 16, 2018|Tags: , , |

Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018: What it Means for Home Health and Hospice

On February 9, 2018, President Trump signed into law H.R. 1892, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. The 640-page legislation is a two-year budget plan that contains several provisions that will affect home health and hospice agencies, including the creation of a new payment model and loosened rules regarding review of documentation for face to

February 23, 2018|Tags: , , |

What Are Clinical Decision Support Tools?

Clinical decision support tools are found in EHR software that when applied effectively, can enhance patient care quality and outcomes, improve efficiency, and help to ensure regulatory compliance. Through clinical decision support tools, patient specific data and evidence-based guidance are presented to clinicians at appropriate times throughout the care planning process, guiding and reinforcing decisions

February 16, 2018|Tags: , , |

Hospice Documentation: Cloning and Checkboxes Just Won’t Cut It

Hospice documentation makes up the clinical record of a patient receiving hospice services. CMS is looking for documentation that is complete, thorough, and patient-specific. As a result, hospices that have long relied on cloning and “checkbox charting” methods are facing the reality of adopting new documentation methods that satisfy regulatory requirements and enhance patient care

February 9, 2018|Tags: , , |

RAISE Family Caregivers Act Signed Into Law

On January 23, 2018, President Trump signed into law the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage Family Caregivers Act, also known as the RAISE Family Caregivers Act. This law directs the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop and maintain a national strategy to recognize and support the more than

February 2, 2018|Tags: , |

Five Tips for a Successful Home Health or Hospice EHR Implementation

Does the thought of a home health or hospice EHR implementation sound daunting? If you said yes, you’re not alone. Sometimes, home health and hospice agencies identify imperfections in their systems and processes that lead them to explore the idea of making an EHR software change. Sometimes agencies are stuck in a sub-optimized infrastructure, not

January 23, 2018|Tags: , , , , , |

Home Health Interpretive Guidelines for the CoPs: What You Need to Know

On November 1, 2017, CMS released the draft Home Health Interpretive Guidelines for the final Home Health Conditions of Participation (CoPs), which took effect on January 13, 2018. The draft was released for review and comment to select industry groups. The Home Health Interpretive Guidelines are intended to clarify the CoPs for both providers and

January 19, 2018|Tags: , , |

How to Choose the Right Home Healthcare and Hospice Software Partner

Your EHR is the central nervous system of your agency. Cumbersome processes, lack of real-time information, and a countless amount of paperwork puts your agency at risk for non-compliance and can impact your cash flow as well as the quality of care you provide. Selecting the right home healthcare software features for your business will enable long-term success

January 4, 2018|Tags: , , , , |

Streamlined Hospice EHRs Help Emphasize Patient Care

Taking care of hospice patients presents challenges that agencies must be prepared to overcome. The focus should be on providing care and being present for patients, but care teams often find it difficult to balance this with documenting the care that they provide at the point of care. Hospice EHRs that feature complex, demanding interfaces

November 18, 2017|Tags: , , , , |

Home Health & Hospice Referral Generation Action Plan

As the post-acute care environment becomes increasingly more competitive, solidifying new home health & hospice referral source partnerships and strengthening existing partnerships is a vital aspect of any organization’s success. HEALTHCAREfirst truly understands the challenges faced by our clients in an increasingly competitive environment. We understand the importance of strong referral partnerships to raise awareness of post-acute services and support

November 10, 2017|Tags: |

Home Health Final Rule Released for 2018

On November 1, 2017, CMS released the 2018 Home Health Final Rule. To the delight of home health agencies, the rule was finalized without the implementation of the Home Health Groupings Model (HHGM), which was proposed for roll-out in 2019. CMS stated, “We are not finalizing the implementation of the Home Health Groupings Model (HHGM)

November 3, 2017|Tags: , , , |

Three Ways Home Health EHRs Eliminate Operational Overhead

Operational overhead is present in just about any business, but the health care industry is particularly prone to inefficiency as care providers must prioritize patient needs and regulatory compliance over getting the job done as quickly and inexpensively as possible. Over time, however, the health care sector has developed a variety of inefficiencies that can

October 27, 2017|Tags: |

Emergency Preparedness Training Open to Home Health & Hospice

Home health and hospice providers have until November 15, 2017 to implement and be in full compliance with the new emergency preparedness requirements. Now is the time for agencies to get ready with HEALTHCAREfirst's emergency preparedness training courses! CMS has developed an Emergency Preparedness Training: Basic Surveyor Course to train surveyors on what to look

October 20, 2017|Tags: , , , |

Top Medicare Hospice Claim Denials and How to Prevent Them

In today’s environment, hospice agencies need to collect everything they are owed and they need to do it quickly. By understanding potential red flags and avoiding common mistakes that lead to claim denials, you can easily improve revenue and cash flow. Discover the top reasons for hospice claim denials and how you can avoid them! Download HEALTHCAREfirst's

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