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Biden Nominations Promising for Home Health Advocacy, But Challenges Remain

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To keep you informed on news, innovation, education and advocacy issues around home-based care, we’ve pulled together these important headlines.

CMS

Biden’s selection for Seema Varma’s replacement at CMS has been slowed by confirmation delays in the Senate for another key post. Biden has nominated Xavier Beccara to the head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Next Biden moved forward with an official nomination for the head of CMS. Read the rest of the article here.

Biden has nominated Chiquita Brooks-LaSure for administrator of the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services CMS. C‑TAC leaders followed the announcement with excitement. Her years of expertise and experience working with Xavier Beccara in the past bode well. Industry experts are confident in her ability to lead CMS. Read the full article here.

Financial Relief for States

Biden’s proposed relief bill may help states like New York avoid drastic cuts to make up for large deficits due to the pandemic. Read the full article here.

Home Care Advocacy

NAHC President William A Dombi sat down with Home Health Care News to discuss expectations for home care advocacy during the Biden administration and why he is optimistic about the potential to prioritize home health and hospice in upcoming legislation. Read the full article here.

The latest relief bill, dubbed the American Rescue Plan” includes several provisions in favor of home care and are receiving positive support from many politicians in Washington. Some of these provisions include a 7.85% increase to Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP) for HCBS. Read the rest of the article here.

THIS MONTH IN HOME HEALTH 

Home Health Workers Receive Limited Access to Vaccine
Bobby Lolley, executive director of the Home Care Association of Florida (HCAF), discussed the struggles that home health and hospice workers are facing as they vie for access to the COVID vaccine on the February episode of Disrupt”. To read the synopsis and listen to the click here.

Healthcare Spending Decrease

An initial analysis of the nation’s healthcare spending indicates that overall medical spending may have dropped in 2020, in part because of decreased activity in other sectors of healthcare and an increase in home-based care, which has been shown to cost less, while improving outcomes for many patients. Read the rest of the article here.

Thanks to Home Care Providers, Telehealth Is Turning into a $250B Industry

Inbound interest for telehealth technology increased by 100% during COVID. The service has moved from nice to have” to a necessity for home-based care. Read the rest of the article here.

OIG Ramps Up Home Health Oversight

The Office of Inspector General has announced that they are adding an additional audit to their current efforts to review the home health industry. The OIG will conduct an audit examining a small sample of Home Health agency’s use of telehealth during the pandemic. The final report is expected to come out in 2022 and will likely influence future legislation and regulation for telehealth. Read the rest of the article here.

The Cost of Incomplete Home Health Referrals After Hospitalization

A recent study published in the Journal Post-Acute and Long-term Care Medicine by HCHB partner Trella Health examines the effects of incomplete vs. completed home health referrals. The results indicate that: complete home health referrals can save hospitals nearly $168.6 million dollars by lowering readmission rates”. To read the rest of the article, click here.

Labor Policies Threaten Home Care Providers: Agencies Are Truly Getting the Worst of Both Ends’

Concerns about an increased minimum wage and unemployment benefits are continuing to plague home-based care agencies. Industry leaders are expressing the need for state and federal governments to meet them in the middle to assist with increased wages while keeping the cost of patient care down. To read the full article, click here.

The Link Between Outcomes and Staffing Retention

A new study came out stating the importance of staff confidence and knowledge for improving outcomes for cardiac patients. Staffing reports have also shown that staff are more likely to find satisfaction with their jobs and say at an agency if they feel confident in the training and knowledge they have received. Read the rest of the article here.

2021 Agency Spending
The 2021 outlook report by Home Health Care News and Homecare Homebase indicates that two of the main focuses for agency spending in the upcoming year are staffing and referral building. Agencies are seeking incentivize nurses and grow hospital referrals and acute care offerings as they strengthen relationships with hospitals. Read the full article here.

HOME HEALTH CUSTOMERS IN THE NEWS

Encompass Health

April Anthony of Encompass Health was called upon by Home Health Care News to share her insights regarding the surge of SNF at home programs and how this trend will affect home health and hospice agencies in 2021. To read the rest of the article click here.

McLaren Health Management Group

McLaren Health Management Group’s Vice President of Homecare, Tammy Aubel spoke with Samsung about the challenges her agency faced in 2020 and how HCHB helped her team adapt and overcome. Read the full article here.

AccentCare

Getting their personal care staff vaccinated has been a grassroots effort with communication and methods varying across state or county lines. AccentCare’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Anna Loengard discussed vaccine challenges with Home Health Care News. To read the rest of the article, click here.

The Pennant Group

The Pennant Group is positioning themselves for home health and hospice acquisitions in 2021, in part by increasing their revolving credit line. Read the rest of the story here.

Bayada Home Health Care

The nonprofit recently rolled out a new dementia training and education program that is making positive waves in the organization. The program has reduced staff turnover, increased patient satisfaction scores and referrals. To learn more, click here.

Amedisys

Despite challenges from PDGM and COVID, Amedisys has been able to increase revenues by over 5% in 2020. The company has also rolled out a predictive staffing model to help retain employees and prevent burnout. Read the rest of the article here.

Amedisys and LHC Group

Chris Gerard from Amedisys and Keith Myers from LHC Group lent insight to Home Health Care News on the future of SNF ‑to-home diversion and SNF-a-home programs. Find out what they had to say here.

RESOURCE ARTICLES

As Becerra Awaits HHS Confirmation, Biden Reportedly Narrows Picks to Head CMS” By Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on February 5, 2021

Biden to Nominate Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to Lead CMS” By Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on February 18, 2021

50% Cut to Workforce Recruitment, Retention Fund Puts Home Care Providers in the Hot Seat” By Andrew Donlan, Published by Home Health Care News on February 15, 2021

7.35% Medicaid Boost Critical for Supporting America’s Fragile’ Home-Based Care Infrastructure, Senators Argue” By Andrew Donlan, Published by Home Health Care News on February 182021

The Cost of Incomplete Home Health Referrals After Hospitalization” By Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on February 32021

Labor Policies Threaten Home Care Providers: Agencies Are Truly Getting the Worst of Both Ends’” By Andrew Donlan Published by Home Health Care News on February 4, 2021

OIG Ramps Up Home Health Oversight” By Andrew Donlan Published by Home Health Care News on February 232021

Thanks to Home Care Providers, Telehealth Is Turning into a $250B Industry” by Joyce Famakinwa by Home Health Care News on February 222021

Study: Caregiver Confidence Plays a Major Role in Heart Failure Patient Outcomes” By Andrew Donlan Published by Home Health Care News on January 312021

Staffing, Hospital Partnerships and Disaster Prep: Providers Share 2021 Spending Priorities” by Joyce Famakinwa by Home Health Care News on February 22021

Against All Odds, Home Health Care Helped Bend 2020’s Cost Curve” By Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on February 182021

Top Home Care Trends for 2021” by Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on February 42021

The Top 10 Home Health, Hospice Providers in 2020” by Andrew Donlan, Published by Home Health Care News on February 92021

Pennant Group Boosts Credit Facility to Fuel Acquisitions” By Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on February 232021

We Roll Out the Red Carpet’: Why Bayada Takes an Interactive Approach to Dementia Training” by Joyce Famakinwa by Home Health Care News on February 232021

Home Care Workers Vie for Access as US Surpasses 64M COVID-19 Vaccine Doses” By Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on February 222021

AccentCare CMO: Home Health, Hospice Turning into the Forgotten Front Line’” By Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on February 172021

Amedisys Hunts Future Gains with SNF-at-Home, Predictive-Staffing Investments” by Andrew Donlan, Published by Home Health Care News on February 252021

What Nursing Home Operators, Home Health Providers Are Saying About SNF-to-Home Diversion” By Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on February 82021

How McLaren Health survived a year of COVID and PDGM” by Taylor Mallory Holland, Published by Samsung Insights on February 232021