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Home Care Legislation Makes a Splash in March, Home Health Agencies Gear Up for Changes

Home Care Legislation Home Health Agencies Change


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

Legislation
The American Rescue Plan passed without one key feature that many home-based care agencies were looking for. A moratorium to the Medicare sequestration was requested last year but did not make it into the final version of the bill. However, 8.5 billion in aid has been set aside for rural providers. Read the full article here.

Legislation news regarding Medicare sequestration was particularly confusing in March. The automatic 2% cuts are slated to resume in April, which instigated bills in both the house AND senate to extend the hold on automatic cuts through the end of the national health crisis. While both bills were passed in their respective houses, the bills have not made it through to the President’s desk yet. It is expected that the House of Representatives will pass the Senate’s bill immediately upon returning from their break on April 13th. Read the rest of the article here.

HHS Confirmation
Xavier Becerra has officially been confirmed as the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. The confirmation vote was extremely close 50 – 49. Read the full article here.

OSHA Virus Protection
Organizations including home-based care agencies are advised to keep an eye out for emergency temporary standards to protect workers while the COVID pandemic continues. Legal ramifications may soon exist for public health guidance that is currently voluntary. Read the full article here.

THIS MONTH IN HOME HEALTH 

PDGM Tweaks
After a year under PDGM regulations, CMS is likely to start making adjustments in key areas. The initial transition to PDGM was surprisingly seamless, but MACs have struggled with the No-pay RAPs that went into effect at the beginning of the year. The nearly 30% reduction in cash flow from January is likely to have ripple effects among the industry. Read the full article here.

LUPA Management

Analysis of data from home health agencies during the first two quarters of 2020 revealed that: About 85% of LUPAs in subsequent 30-day periods were only one visit short of the threshold to avoid a LUPA.” Home Health Care News posted an article that walks agencies through some of the efforts agencies can take to reduce the number of unnecessary LUPAs. Read the rest of the article here.

COVID Vaccine
Medicare is increasing the payment agencies receive from administering the COVID-19 vaccine to help increase the number of vaccines that providers can furnish each day to homebound adults at risk for the virus. Read the full article here.

A report on the current vaccination rates of healthcare workers in the US stated that only 26% of home health workers have been vaccinated. This rate is far below the vaccination rates of other healthcare providers. Read the rest of the article here.

MedPAC Calls for a 5% Cut to Home Health Benefits
MedPAC released a report based on 2019 data recommending a 5% cut to the Medicare base payment rate for home health agencies. Read the full article here.

Loan Recoupment Preparation
Home Health Care News interviewed Corridor, an organization providing revenue cycle management services, to provide agencies with helpful recommendations in the face of Medicare loan recoupment. The article explains how the recoupment process will work and the importance of preparing beforehand so agencies aren’t caught off guard when 25% of their Medicare payments are taken to pay back loans. Read the full article here.

HOME HEALTH CUSTOMERS IN THE NEWS

Trinity Health At Home
The home health workforce dropped 3.1% since the pandemic started. Trinity Health At Home CEO Mark McPherson weighed in on the effect the labor shortage has had on the organization. Read the rest of the article here.

LHC Group
Keith Myers, CEO of the LHC Group, has begun talks to encourage legislation around the Choose Home, a new SNF concept that provides an alternative to standard care in a skilled nursing facility. Read the full article here.

The LHC Group is directly addressing staffing concerns by investing in educational nursing programs. The organization recently agreed to invest $20 million in the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions. Read the rest of the article here.

The LHC Group announced a new JV partnership with Orlando Health that leverages Bayfront Home Health Services in St. Petersburg, Florida. In addition to JVs, the organization is focusing on hospice mergers and acquisitions opportunities that are co-located with existing LHC Home Health branches. Read the full articles here and here.

LHG Group and Amedisys Inc.
LHC Group and Amedisys Inc. weighed in on recent approaches the organizations are taking to combat staffing burnout and increase recruitment. Read the rest of the article here.

Amedisys Inc.
March was a busy month for Amedisys Inc. The organization repurchased $73 million in stock a few days after announcing a new joint venture with UMC Health System. The joint venture will launch a new home health and hospice location with 50 percent ownership on both sides. Read the rest of the article here.

Amedisys is utilizing a data analytics solution to predict and reduce staff turnover. The tool they have employed predicts whether an employee may be leaving their position with 80% accuracy and encourages intervention. Read the full article here.

Amedisys leaders spoke with Home Health Care News about the organization’s approach to mergers and acquisitions versus opening de novo locations in the near future. Read the rest of the article here.

Elara Caring

The CEO of Elara Caring, Scott Powers spoke with Home Health Care News about how the health crisis helped the organization integrate better and improve care. He also discussed the importance of targeting physician-based referrals during the pandemic. Read the full article here.

Addus HomeCare Corporation
Addus HomeCare Corporation announced that Brad Bickham will now assume the role of president and COO and Dirk Allison as company chairman. Steven Geringer will take on the role of lead director. Read the rest of the article here.

Addus announced that they have entered into a new value-based care agreement with Presbyterian Health Plan in New Mexico. The program will allow Addus to support patients and families during the immediate post-discharge period and identify potential gaps in care. Read the full article here.

Addus CEO Dirk Allison explained the importance of co-locating new M&A hospice assets with other business lines owned by the organization. This is especially important given the record-breaking multiples seen in the hospice field today. Read the rest of the article here.

PruittHealth
PruittHealth experienced a 22% spike in home health census after the organization adjusted their tactics during the pandemic to make sure that as many patients were able to be served comfortably at home as possible. Read the full article here.

Encompass Health
Encompass Health announced a new preferred provider relationship with home care company, Right at Home. The shared goal of the relationship is to get ahead of adverse health events and keep people out of the hospital.” Read the rest of the article here.

RESOURCE ARTICLES

COVID-19 Stimulus Passes with Support for Rural Hospices, but No Additional PRF” By Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on March 102021

A Key Piece of the Puzzle’: Setting the Record Straight on Medicare Sequestration” By Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on March 292021

OSHA’s Virus Protection Program Could Put Home Health Agencies Under the Microscope” By Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on March 162021

Xavier Becerra Confirmed as HHS Secretary” By Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on March 182021

Home Health Profit Margins Projected to Remain Strong in 2021” By Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on March 162021

CMS Increases Vaccine Reimbursement for Home Health Providers, Others” By Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on March 162021

What Home Health Providers Need to Know About Medicare Loan Recoupment” By Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on March 302021

How Home Health Agencies Can Optimize Outcomes, Avoid LUPAs Under PDGM’s 30-Day Billing Periods” By Andrew Donlan, Published by Home Health Care News on March 282021

Only 26% of Home Health Workers Have Been Vaccinated” By Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on March 212021

SNF-at-Home Concept Earning Very Positive Feedback’ in Congress, Among Special Interest Groups” by Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on March 172021

Amedisys Buys Back $73M in Stock, Forms JV Partnership with UMC Health System” by Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on March 152021

LHC Group Launches Hospice, Home Health Recruitment Blitz” by Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on March 112021

The Home Health Workforce Has Shrunk by 3.1% Since the Pandemic Started” by Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on March 182021

LHC Group Invests $20M in UL Lafayette’s College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions” by Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on March 252021

Elara Caring Looking to Complete In-Home Care Bingo Card’ in Strategic Markets” by Andrew Donlan Published by Hospice News on March 302021

Addus Promotes Bickham to President; WelbeHealth Names New CMO” by Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on March 292021

Why SNF Operator PruittHealth Pivoted to Home Health Care” by Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on March 102021

Addus Enters Value-Based Care Deal with Presbyterian Health Plan” by Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on March 102021

Amedisys Engages Analytics to Reduce Turnover” by Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on March 42021

Home Health M&A Experts Seeing Fewer Fire Sales’ Tied to PDGM, COVID-19” by Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on March 42021

Addus CEO: Geography a Key Factor in M&A Decisions Amid High Hospice Multiples” by Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on March 32021

Encompass Health, Right at Home Collaborating on Value-Based Delivery Models” by Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on March 22021

LHC Group Expands In-Home Care Partnership with Orlando Health” by Andrew Donlan Published by Hospice News on March 22021

LHC Group Leaning Hard on Hospice Growth” by Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on March 42021