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 would increase by 2.1%,

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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 into fraudulent practices by home health and hospice agencies.

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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 hospices with an overall economic impact estimated to be $340 million in increased payments to hospices during FY2019.

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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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