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 Medicare on a flow basis by geographic location and other factors.

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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) in this final rule.

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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 for when evaluating providers for compliance with the emergency preparedness requirements.

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Longitudinal Charting in Home Health Care

Home health agencies have had longitudinal charting looming like a shadow over their operations. On one hand, implementing a longitudinal charting methodology makes it easier to track care activities in more nuanced and specialized ways, leading to potential quality and transparency improvements within an agency. On the other, the extra time and attention that goes into documentation with a longitudinal chart methodology can be intimidating for agencies already facing regulatory challenges and pressures.

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Home Health Emergency Preparedness: A Guide to Site Survey Success

Beginning on November 15, 2017, home health agencies must be prepared to demonstrate compliance with the home health emergency preparedness condition of participation (CoP). When evaluating for compliance with the CoP requirements, surveyors will follow the standard survey protocols during initial, revalidation, recertification, and complaint surveys. CMS’ goal in enforcement of these requirements is to ensure that Medicare certified organizations “better anticipate and plan for needs,

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Hospice Compare is Now Live

As anticipated, today CMS launched Hospice Compare, a website that reports information on hospices that enables patients, family members, and health care providers to learn more about the quality of care each hospice provides. Utilizing CMS’ official Hospice Compare datasets, Hospices can be evaluated based on quality indicators such as the percentage of patients checked for pain or percentage of patients asked about preferences for life-sustaining treatment.

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FY 2018 Hospice Final Rule Published

On August 1, 2017, CMS published the FY 2018 Hospice Final Rule. In the final rule, Medicare hospice payments, adjusted for inflation and other factors, will increase an estimated 1% or an estimated $180 million in 2018. This is in comparison to the 2017 final rule, which included a 2.1% increase, or $350 million, in payments.

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Medicare Home Health Fraud: Enough Mistakes Can Add Up

Home health regulatory requirements create a variety of documentation and management challenges that home health agencies must be prepared to address. In particular, emerging regulatory changes surrounding Medicare home health fraud are pressuring agencies to keep an especially close watch over every facet of operations.
According to a CMS Comprehensive Error Rate Testing (CERT) report released last year,

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Hospice CAHPS Vendor Selection: Tips to Help You Choose

Hospice CAHPS Vendor Selection: Choose wisely.
The Hospice CAHPS Vendor Selection process is not easy. Choose a Hospice CAHPS vendor that understands the hospice industry and the challenges that you face. Find a company you can trust and that is responsive to your needs regardless of your agency’s size. Consider how long the vendor has been providing experience of care surveys to hospice agencies and evaluate their experience with other CAHPS programs.

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