Our weekly list of news, reports, and information about home health and hospice care. Learn about new studies, trends, CMS regulations and more.
On a conference call in late February, Amedisys CEO Paul Kusserow could not overstate the success his Baton Rouge-based home health company had enjoyed over the past year. “We generally try to avoid hyperbole on these calls,” Kusserow told investors and analysts on the line. “But it would be inaccurate not to describe our performance in 2018 as tremendous.” With three acquisitions in 2018, followed by two more in early 2019, Amedisys has grown rapidly over the past two years, adding a personal care line of business and building up its hospice service. Not only was the company expanding, its quality of care and employee satisfaction metrics significantly improved as well—ranking Amedisys among the biggest and the best in the home health business.
Enormous Growth in Temporary Healthcare Staffing Market to Drive Huge Growth by Profiling Key Players: Adecco, Almost Family, AMN Healthcare, CHG Management
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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a final rule Thursday that makes changes to discharge planning requirements for home health providers. Broadly, the changes are part of CMS’s efforts to make patients a more active part of their care transitions out of the hospital and into other settings. “This delivers on President Trump’s executive order on promoting health care choice and competition,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said during a Thursday press call. “It represents a step forward in interoperability and the MyHealthEData Initiative.” Home health providers have long called for policymakers to clarify the ins and outs of discharge planning, and some in the industry had expected CMS to update guidelines last year.
Effective revenue cycle management can reduce hospice claims denials, particularly those associated with billing or documentation errors. In addition to slowing down payments or losing revenue, submitting inadequate or incomplete required written documentation is a surefire way to bring surveyors or auditors to a hospice’s doorstep. As regulators increasingly fix their eyes on the hospice space, providers are stepping up their efforts to ensure their documentation is airtight to avoid claims denials. “We all know hospice is highly regulated. CMS is increasing their scrutiny for hospice claims, and in a 2018 report by the [Department of Health & Human Services Inspector General (OIG)] they recommended that CMS strengthen oversight of hospice care, including analyzing claims data to identify inappropriate billing,” said Michelle Johnson, solution specialist for Optima, in a Home Health Care News webinar. “Regardless of how small or large your hospice agency, billing tends to be one of the things that gives people the most stress. It’s no easy task to ensure that you are receiving maximum reimbursement for the services that you provide every day.”