Update: On Friday, July 7, 2017, CMS issued a final rule to change the new Home Health Conditions of Participation effective date from July 13, 2017 to January 13, 2018. Despite this delay, home health agencies should not cease or postpone preparation for the new Home Health CoPs.

On January 13, 2017, CMS published the Home Health Conditions of Participation (CoPs) final rule in the Federal Register. This regulation, which includes amended provisions to a proposed rule that was posted over two years ago, will become effective on July 13, 2017.

CMS finalized several updates to the CoPs. As summarized by CMS in its announcement of the rule, they include:

  • A requirement for an integrated communication system that ensures patient needs are met, care is coordinated, and that there is active communication between a home health agency and the patient’s physicians.
  • A requirement for a data-driven, agency-wide quality assessment and performance improvement (QAPI) program that evaluates and improves agency care for patients at all times.
  • An expanded patient care coordination requirement that makes a licensed clinician responsible for all patient care services, such as coordinating referrals and assuring plans of care meet patients’ needs.

While the vast majority of the changes go into effect on July 13, 2017, agencies will have until January of 2018 to implement some of the elements of the QAPI changes.

Home health software vendors such as HEALTHCAREfirst will make necessary system updates when needed, however a large portion of the changes will be administrative and process changes for home health agencies.

To learn more about what your home health agency can do to prepare for the new requirements, please join Mary St. Pierre, RN, BSN, MGA, former Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for the National Association for Homecare and Hospice (NAHC), and Deanna Loftus, Director of Regulatory Compliance for HEALTHCAREfirst for a webinar on the final Home Health CoPs. During this webinar we will address regulatory changes that will require amended policies, procedures, and forms by the July 13 effective date, with special focus on the following major new provisions:

  • Create and implement a QAPI plan, policies, and procedures
  • Create and implement an Infection Control plan, policies, and procedures
  • Meet new patient rights requirements
  • Develop protocols for written patient instructions

This free webinar will be held on Wednesday, February 15th at 1:00 pm CT. Click here to register for the webinar, or to learn more!