Two leading home health care organizations launch joint effort to strengthen home health care for providers, patients, and taxpayers.
The HomeCare Elite is an annual compilation of the most successful home care providers in the United States. This market-leading review, from OCS HomeCare by National Research Corporation and DecisionHealth, names the top 25 percent of agencies in home health performance measures. The HomeCare Elite also recognizes the Top 100 and Top 500 providers nationwide.
Please join VNAA in congratulating the 46 VNAA members named to this year's list:
Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released two regulations that will have a significant impact on home health agencies in 2016: The final 2016 home health payment rule and a proposed rule to revise discharge planning requirements.
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on Health held a hearing last week titled, "Examining Potential Ways to Improve the Medicare Program." The Subcommittee Members reviewed three Medicare bills, including a draft bill that would address the face-to-face Medicare documentation requirements facing home health providers.
Last week, CMS released the final FY 2016 hospice payment rule. CMS will implement the new Routine Home Care rates and the Service Intensity Add-On (SIA) payment for Jan. 1, 2016. CMS made several adjustments to its original proposal, including delaying the payment update for three months to allow state Medicaid programs time to align their systems to the changes and allowing skilled nursing facilities to receive the SIA payment adjustments.
Last week, CMS posted the first set of Quality of Patient Care Star Ratings as part of Home Health Compare. VNAA members performed very well, with 42 members receiving four or more stars. This represents 41 percent of all VNAA members eligible to receive star ratings. Comparatively, only 26 percent of all eligible HHAs nationally received four or more stars.
Today, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) added Quality of Patient Care Star Ratings to its Home Health Compare database, a service on the Medicare.gov website that helps consumers make informed choices about where to seek care. Nationally, 9,359 home health agencies met the criteria to receive a rating, of which 26.3 percent received four or more stars. Comparatively, 41.2 percent of listed members of the Visiting Nurse Associations of America (VNAA) received these top marks.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released yesterday the "CY 2016 Home Health Prospective Payment System Rate Update; Home Health Value-Based Purchasing Model; and Home Health Quality Reporting Requirements." The regulation, if codified, would implement a 1.8 percent (or $350 million) pay cut, new quality measures, and a value-based payment pilot for home health providers. The rate cut is a result of continued rebasing of home health rates, adjustments due to case-mix coding intensity growth unrelated to changes in patient acuity, and adjustments due to productivity.
Visiting Nurse Associations of America is pleased to announce the launch of Education@VNAA, an all new, on-demand continuing education and online learning resource for home health and hospice professionals.
Today CMS released the FY 2016 Home Health proposed payment rule. As anticipated, the rule proposes to establish a value-based purchasing program for home health providers in 2016.
On July 10, Margaret â€œPegâ€ Terry will end her tenure as VNAAâ€™s Vice President of Quality to begin a new position at the National Quality Forum (NQF). During her time at VNAA, Peg oversaw the publication of two editions of the VNAA Clinical Procedure Manual, and spearheaded the development of two landmark VNAA initiatives in recent years, the VNAA Manual for Hospice and Palliative Care and the award-winning VNAA Blueprint for Excellence.
Sens. Menendez and Roberts have introduced legislation into the Senate that provides a real solution to the challenges faced by home health providers. The legislation provides common-sense fixes to Medicare documentation problems and much needed relief to the documentation of a face-to-face visit. The legislation provides relief from past claims denials and improves the approach CMS uses to collect evidence that beneficiaries are eligible for home health services moving forward.
DecisionHealth today selected the Visiting Nurse Associations of America (VNAA) Blueprint for Excellence: Hospice and Palliative Care for its prestigious Case in Point Platinum Award in the category of Case Management Specialty Programs: Home Care and Hospice/Palliative Care Programs.
On Thursday, May 1, 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the Fiscal Year 2016 Hospice Wage Index and Payment Rate Update and Hospice Quality Reporting Requirements proposed rule. The rule proposes a number of changes to the way in which hospice payment rates are calculated and updated. The most significant change is to propose two routine home care day rates to account for more costly days at the beginning of a hospice stay. It also proposes changes to the Hospice Quality Reporting Program and would implement new coding requirements to better enable CMS to track and monitor Medicare spending outside of the hospice benefit for individuals enrolled in hospice.
At its 33rd Annual Meeting in New Orleans, La. last week, the Visiting Nurse Associations of America's (VNAA) membership voted to approve six new Board of Directors members, representing a variety of nonprofit home-based care providers and healthcare industry partners.
The Visiting Nurse Associations of America honored the winners of its 2015 National Awards Program at a ceremony last week during the 33rd Annual Meeting. The ceremony was hosted by Awards Committee Chair Theresa Santoro, President and CEO of Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association, and featured a personalized video about each award winner, available below.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a policy clarification on the required documentation to support certification for home health services, which includes the face-to-face encounter, homebound status, and need for skilled services. CMS acknowledged that it provided inaccurate information on its last call related to Medicare documentation and the draft standardized templates. CMS clarified that it will allow HHAs to provide documentation for incorporation into the patient's record, which can then be used to substantiate that the individual is eligible for home health services.
Bipartisan leaders of the House Energy and Commerce and House Ways and Means Committees today introduced H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act , to permanently replace Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR). The agreement builds upon H.R. 1470, the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act , to replace the SGR formula.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) are negotiating a deal to permanently replace Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. With only a few legislative days left before the SGR patch expires and physician payment cuts kick in, House leadership worked through the weekend to replace the SGR and include other so-called "Medicare extenders," such as the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). VNAA is working in partnership with the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) and the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare (Partnership) to insure that the 3 percent additional payment to rural home health providers is included in the extenders package.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a review of its quality reporting programs that cites broad and significant improvement from providers since 2006. CMS Deputy Administrator Patrick Conway writes in a blog post that the report will be used to refine "quality measurement strategies, better understand the measures that have worked well and guide the development and application of measures going forward."
Today the Visiting Nurses Association of America (VNAA) released the second edition of the VNAA Case Study Compendium: Innovative Models for the Evolving Home Health and Hospice Industry, a collection of innovative programs from across its membership of nonprofit home health and hospice providers. This compendium consists of 14 VNAA member case studies highlighting successful methods and techniques nonprofits conducted in clinical, business and financial operations to match quality outcomes for patients with overall performance.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service (CMS) is considering developing a voluntary paper clinical template that could be completed by physicians during their face-to-face examination of a Medicare patient. Once a physician completes the template, the resulting document would become a progress note or clinic note that would be part of the medical record. CMS is seeking public comment on this voluntary paper clinical template. CMS is also developing an electronic clinical template
VNAA seeks thirteen dynamic leaders to join the Advisory Board for the Nonprofit Industry Research Database. The Advisory Board will consist of fifteen members appointed by the President and Board-level representatives to the Advisory Board. The current Board-level representatives are Joseph Scopelliti, CEO, VNA Health System and Timothy Veach, Intermountain Healthcare. Mr. Scopelliti will serve as Advisory Board Chair and Mr. Veach will serve as Vice-Chair. At-large Research Database Advisory Board seats are open to VNAA affiliate member representatives and other recognized research experts and industry partners.
Last week, VNAA submitted to CMS comments on the proposed Home Health Conditions of Participation. In general, VNAA agrees with the need for updated CoPs for home health agencies (HHA) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) emphasis on high quality, patient-centered and safe care. Many of the changes proposed in the regulation align with recommendations that VNAA and its members have long-supported. However, VNAA expressed concerns to CMS on several provisions and sought additional clarification on others. Our primary concern relates to the sharing of clinical summaries when a patient is either discharged or transferred to the care of another provider.
VNAA submitted comments on Friday to the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) on the Hospitals Improvements for Payment (HIP) Act of 2014 discussion draft. Rep. Brady unveiled the draft legislation, focusing on comprehensive Medicare reform, in late November seeking stakeholder input.
Title I of the discussion draft has a number of provisions that seek to improve the Recovery Audit Program in response to the high rate of claim denials and backlog of appeals. VNAA encouraged that the draft also apply the same provisions to the Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs). VNAA requested that the legislation to address the specific context of home health agencies.
Today, the Visiting Nurse Associations of America (VNAA) and OCS HomeCare by National Research Corporation announced a partnership to develop a comprehensive research database to provide evidence-based information to assist in research and advocacy efforts. The VNAA Nonprofit Industry Research Database will provide VNAA and its members a broad perspective of quality, service utilization, financial, and outcomes performance allowing insight into the unique value VNAA members bring to their communities and the home-based care market.