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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.

Hospice bereavement services program: A data-driven approach to success

While it's a Medicare requirement that hospices make bereavement services available to the family and others identified in the bereavement care plan, the value of a hospice bereavement services program goes well beyond mere compliance. A hospice bereavement services program is both an important responsibility and a great opportunity. That being said, it’s important to

February 8, 2019|Tags: , , |

6 Powerful Strategies to Grow Your Home Health Care Agency

The demand for quality home health care is ever increasing. The competition is tough and home health care agency owners need to work out growth strategies comprising of innovative marketing ideas that give quick and effective results. From chalking out the strengths and weaknesses to getting ahead of your competition, you need to address all

January 22, 2019|Tags: , , , |

How to Achieve Quality Peak Performance in Home Health and Hospice

Striving for quality peak performance should be a key goal for every home health and hospice agency. CMS has been working on new payment models designed to tie payments to quality and rewarding agencies for efficiency and effectiveness. Additionally, as the aging population becomes more web-savvy, they're using the internet to research agencies before making

November 16, 2018|Tags: , , |

Opioids Bill: What it Will Mean for Hospices

On Wednesday, October 24, 2018, President Trump signed the bipartisan bill, SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, to address the opioid epidemic. The opioids bill will increase access to addiction treatment and other interventions. One part of the opioids bill allows hospice workers to destroy patients’ unneeded, expired, or leftover medications. With more than 72,000

November 2, 2018|

Peak Performance: Four Ways to Work Toward Financial Success

Is your home health or hospice agency achieving peak performance when it comes to your financial operations? While you might be surviving and maybe even thriving, there could be opportunity for you to improve. Here are four things that home health and hospice agencies should do to achieve peak performance. Define Peak Performance How do you

October 26, 2018|Tags: , , , |

Driving Clinical Peak Performance in Home Health & Hospice

Clinical peak performance is vital to home health & hospice success. As Medicare continues to shift from rewarding volume to rewarding value, it's nearly impossible to get ahead without proving value through clinical excellence. Here are three ways to achieve clinical peak performance: Patient-Centered Care First, it's important to practice patient-centered care. The Institute of Medicine

October 19, 2018|Tags: , , , , |

Four Ways to Cut Home Health and Hospice Administrative Costs

Administrative costs account for 1/3 of healthcare expenditures in the United States. While this number takes into account many other types of healthcare, home health and hospice administrative costs were included in this often cited and quite comprehensive study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. In fact, CMS recently introduced regulatory changes to

October 12, 2018|Tags: , , , , |

CMS Proposes to Reform Home Health and Hospice Regulatory Requirements

On September 17th, CMS held a public event to share its proposal to reform several home health and hospice regulatory requirements. The proposal includes changes to current home health and hospice regulatory requirements, Conditions of Participation (CoPs), and Conditions for Coverage. According to CMS, this will “simplify and streamline the current regulations and thereby increase provider

September 27, 2018|Tags: , , , , |

Review Choice Demonstration for Home Health Agencies

Since the pause of the Pre-Claim Review Demonstration in April 2017, CMS has been working to develop an alternative called the Review Choice Demonstration. It states that this new demonstration will, "offer more flexibility and choice for providers, as well as risk-based changes to reward providers who show compliance with Medicare home health policies." Participation is

August 31, 2018|Tags: , , |

FY2019 Hospice Final Rule Published

On August 1, 2018, CMS issued the FY2019 Hospice Final Rule for Medicare hospice agencies. The final rule includes changes to the hospice payment rates as well as updates to the Hospice Quality Reporting Program (HQRP). Burden Reduction CMS will no longer display the seven component measures from which a composite measure is calculated on

August 3, 2018|Tags: , , |

2019 ICD-10-CM Codes Released: What You Need to Know

On June 11, 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the FY 2019 ICD-10-CM code changes. There are 473 code changes, including 279 new codes, 143 revised codes, and 51 deactivated codes. These codes are to be used from October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019. What is included in the 2019

July 27, 2018|Tags: , |

2019 Home Health Proposed Rule Released by CMS

On July 2, 2018, CMS released the 2019 Home Health Proposed Rule. It includes considerable proposed changes to the Home Health Prospective Payment System designed to “strengthen and modernize Medicare, drive value, and focus on individual patient needs rather than volume of care.” Payment Rate Changes for CY2019 CMS projects that Medicare payments for CY2019

July 3, 2018|Tags: , |

Performance Improvement Project Implementation: Ensuring Home Health QAPI Compliance

Having a Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement (QAPI) program is mandated by the new Home Health Conditions of Participation (CoPs). While home health agencies should already have their QAPI programs up and running, you have until July 13, 2018 to implement and document at least one performance improvement project (PIP) to ensure compliance with the

June 15, 2018|Tags: , |

How Hospice Management Solutions Can Make Your Job Easier

Managing a successful hospice agency is no simple task. It involves many processes aimed at streamlining workflow, effectively managing employees, accurately and securely completing paperwork, all while providing patients and their loved ones with the highest quality of care. With so many elements involved, it can be easy to become overwhelmed. However, when you partner

June 7, 2018|Tags: , , , , , |

3 Strategies for Hospice Quality Performance Improvement

With increased transparency to the public eye, hospices have an even greater incentive for hospice quality performance improvement, as well as an opportunity to shine in a competitive market. Here are three essential tips that you can use for hospice quality performance improvement. 1. Utilize Any & All Available Hospice Quality Performance Improvement Reporting Data

Pre-Claim Review: What Home Health Agencies Need to Know

In this blog post, we will discuss what the pre-claim review demonstration is, the history of pre-claim review, and the latest updates. In June 2016, CMS announced implementation of a three year Home Health Pre-Claim Review Demonstration. The demonstration was designed to test whether a Pre-Claim Review (PCR) process would improve the identification, investigation, and

May 31, 2018|Tags: , |
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