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End of 2020 Ushers in Changes for Home Health

Published: 12/31/2020
Changes for Home Health Care


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

Home-based Care under Biden

Leaders from the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care weighed in on the changes they believe may come under the Biden administration. Find out what their predictions are here.

Medicare Sequestration

A moratorium on the 2% Medicare sequestration cuts was put into effect earlier this year to help alleviate some of the financial pressures resulting from COVID-19. The moratorium was slated to expire on December 31st, but an extension through March 31, 2021 has been included as part of the $1.4 Trillion spending package that was approved by Congress on December 21st. Review the breakdown of the proposed bill on Home Health Care News or Hospice News.

CMS Outlines Steps to Hospital at Home Expansion

CMS is expanding and adapting their Hospital Care at Home program which allows hospitals to treat patients in their homes. The program is designed for beneficiaries who require acute inpatient admission to a hospital and require at least daily rounding by a physician and medical team. CMS launched an online portal to help streamline the application and adoption into the program. Read the rest of the article here.

Home Health agencies may be able to leverage pre-established relationships with health systems to assist with hospital at-home efforts. Find out how here.

Rate Cuts for Home-based Primary Care

CMS’ final rule for the 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule includes an 8-10% payment cut to home-based primary care visits while in-office primary care rates were raised. Read the full article here.

COVID-19 Vaccine and Oversight Updates

Home-based care advocacy organizations have called or the inclusion of in-home caregivers in the priority access list for COVID-19 vaccine. These efforts are being taken both on a federal and state level. Read the full article here.

Several leaders in the hospice industry weighed in on their plans for the vaccine rollout. Read what they had to say here.

President elect, Joe Biden announced Xavier Becerra as his pick to lead the HHS and help contain the spread of COVID-19. Read the full article here.

Evaluation of the financial costs for agencies to enable staff vaccinations is underway by hospice agencies. Increased costs are anticipated around vaccination delivery and storage, as well as downtime for staff as they cope with side effects. Read the rest of the article here.

Non-Physician Certification in Home Health Care Blocked by State-level Barriers

The CARES Act alleviated some of the federal restrictions that have complicated the home health referral process in the past. Federal policy now allows nurse practitioners, physician assistants and clinical nurse specialists to certify eligibility for home health. However, federal changes are not enough. Many states must also make updates to their policies and Medicaid programs in order for these changes to become widespread. Read the rest of the article here.

Home Health Spending

The national spending for home health in 2019 was announced in a new analysis from CMS. According to the analysis, home health spending reached an all-time high of $113.5 billion. Read the full article here.

HOME HEALTH CUSTOMERS IN THE NEWS

Encompass Health Corp.

Encompass Health is evaluating options for major structural changes within the company. Major acquisition, split off/​spin offs and a full or partial separation of the home health and hospice sectors of the business are under review. Read the full article here.

Addus HomeCare Corporation

Addus announced the recent acquisition of SunLife HomeCare in Tucson, Arizona as the next step in the plan to expand a home health and hospice footprint to match personal care operations. Read the rest of the article here.

Bayada Home Health CEO, David Baiada discussed December’s COVID-19 surge and the implications it has for care providers. Learn what he had to say here.

Amedisys Inc., Elara Caring & Mission Healthcare

Home Health Care News asked several home health executives for a 2021 industry forecast. Three executives from Homecare Homebase customers shared their vision of the future with the publication. Find out what they had to say here.

Mission Healthcare and Lifesprk

Mission Healthcare and Lifesprk both announced new additions to their executive teams in December. Mission Healthcare appointed JoAnn Mack as Chief Operating Officer and Damien Weston as Chief Growth Officer. Lifesprk has brought in Elmer Baldwin as President and former President, Tom Schmitt will now serve as the Executive Director of Value-Based Payment Strategy and Growth. Read the full article here.

RESOURCE ARTICLES

American Academy of Home Care Medicine Urges CMS to Reconsider Rate Cut for Home-Based Primary Care” by Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on December 16, 2020

Federal Serious Illness Care Payment & Policy Could Change Under Biden” by Holly Vossel, Published by Hospice News on December 15, 2020

$1.4 Trillion Spending Package Extends Sequestration Holiday, Grants Home Health OTs More Authority” by Andrew Donlan, Published by Home Health Care News on December 22, 2020

Omnibus Federal Spending Bill Contains Major Hospice Provisions” by Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on December 22, 2020

CMS Outlines Steps to Hospital at Home Expansion” Published by HomeCare News on December 1, 2020

New CMS Hospital-at-Home Program Could Boost Business for Home Health Agencies” by Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on December 2, 2020

Hoping to Prevent Community Spread, Home-Based Care Advocates Vie for Critical’ Vaccine Access” by Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on December 1, 2020

Hospices Prepare for COVID Vaccine Roll Out” by Holly Vossel, Published by Hospice News on December 12020

Biden Picks California Attorney General Becerra to Lead HHS, COVID-19 Response” by Robert Holly Published by Home Health Care News on December 72020

Hospices Brace for COVID-19 Vaccine Costs” by Holly Vossel, Published by Hospice News on December 172020 

Non-Physician Certification in Home Health Care Blocked by State-Level Barriers” by Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on November 302020

National Home Health Spending Reaches All-Time High of $113.5 Billion” by Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on December 162020

[Updated] Encompass Health Exploring Strategic Alternatives’ for Home Health, Hospice Segment” by Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on December 092020

Hospice Provider Addus Purchases SunLife HomeCare” by Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on December 072020

Bayada CEO David Baiada: The Surge Is Real — And It’s Happening to Us” by Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on December 072020

Home Health Executive Forecast for 2021: Reserving a Seat at the Big Kids’ Table” by Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on December 142020

Mission Healthcare Hires Two New Executives; Lifesprk Names New President” by Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on November 142020