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Join Policymakers and Thought Leaders at the 2016 Public Policy Leadership Conference

By Joy M. Cameron, Vice President of Policy and Innovation

Whether you want to discuss the potential impact of new regulations, learn about the Home Health Value-Based Purchasing demonstration from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) or hear the latest analysis on the impact of socioeconomic status on clinical and financial performance, you need to be in Washington, D.C., September 14-15. 
At the 2016 Public Policy Leadership Conference, we are bringing policymakers and thought leaders most impacting the health care industry together with leaders in home-based services.

National Healthcare Decisions Day

Death and taxes - the only two inevitables. With April 15 as tax day, it's only fitting that April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day (or, a great day to discuss with your loved ones and care providers how you wish to live until the end). That means talking about what kind of care you want to receive and don't want to receive, where you want to be cared for, what your life goals are before you go, and what your loved ones should do if you can't communicate for yourself, among other issues.

CMMI New Initiative Round-Up

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) announced several initiatives last week—some of which provide opportunities for VNAA members. This flurry of activity is likely only the beginning of what may be a very busy 18-24 months for CMMI as the current administration winds down.

Crossing the Bridge: Frank Conversation on End of Life Care

When you ask people what hospice is, many will tell you that it's where you go when the doctor says, "There is nothing more we can do for you."

I don't think John and Audrey would agree.

Burwell Confirmed as New HHS Secretary

Last week, the Senate voted 78-17 to confirm Sylvia Mathews Burwell to succeed Kathleen Sebelius as secretary of Health and Human Services. Ms. Burwell was previously the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and prior to that she worked as the President of the Walmart Foundation and the President of the Global Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Ms. Burwell was officially sworn-in on Monday.

VNAA Launches Toolkit on Face-to-Face Encounter Documentation

CMS's implementation of the face-to-face encounter documentation requirement has created one of the most pressing policy issues facing home heathcare providers. These challenges extend to both obtaining physician documentation as well as ensuring appropriate and consistent contractor review and approval. VNAA continues to work with both Capitol Hill and CMS to achieve remedy and clarity on this issue. As such, the VNAA Policy and Communications departments developed a new toolkit to assist you in addressing these issues with your members of Congress.

New Study Finds Medicare Home Health Payment Reform May Jeopardize Access for Clinically Complex and Socially Vulnerable Patients

A study published in the June 2014 issue of Health Affairs found mandated updates to the Medicare payment system, known as rebasing, will greatly impact patients with clinically complex conditions and social vulnerability factors, as they have substantially higher service delivery costs than other home health patients. This means vulnerable patients with complex conditions represent less profit for home health agencies and could reduce such patients' access to care as Medicare payments decline and agencies operate on smaller margins.

ONC Accepting Applications for Health IT Policy Committee and Standards Committee Workgroups

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is now accepting applications for its Health IT Policy Committee and Standards Committee Workgroups. These workgroups contribute to health IT strategy and policy, or to help identify which standards, implementation, and certification criteria are needed to help providers better use their health information technology.

GAO Makes MedPAC Appointments and Designates Vice Chair

Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), today announced the appointment of three new members to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), as well as the reappointment of two existing members and the designation of the Commission's Vice Chair.

Office of Management and Budget Details Spring 2014 Agency Rule List

This week, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) detailed the Spring 2014 Agency Rule List, including a number of updates on proposed rules for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). VNAA members should pay particular attention to two proposed rules regarding home health and hospice.