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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.

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: , |

Improve Your HHCAHPS Survey Response Rate

While many home health agencies work hard to improve HHCAHPS survey scores, they should also focus on techniques to improve their HHCAHPS survey response rate. As an industry-leading HHCAHPS survey provider, we are often asked, “How many responses do I need?” CMS requires at least 20 completed surveys per reporting period for public reporting on

May 25, 2018|Tags: , |

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: , , |
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