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Home Health Biden Administration Actions, Vaccine & Staffing Concerns

Home Health Staffing Challenges


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

Medicare Advantage Plans Offer Social Needs Benefit’

The number of Medicare Advantage plans offering SSBCI (Special Supplemental Benefits for the Chronically Ill) has increased from 267 in 2020 to 942 in 2021. SSBCI benefits are now available in at least one plan in every county in the U.S. To learn more about SSBI benefits, read the full article here.

Staffing in 2021

According to the 2021 Home Health Care Outlook Survey, staffing concerns have overtaken regulatory and payment model changes as the greatest challenge in the industry. Read the full article here.

A new report has been published detailing 8 recommendations to improve job quality for caregivers in the direct care workforce. Some of the challenges in need of improvement include: low compensation, inadequate training, limited career advancement, and gender and racial inequalities. Find out more about the recommendations by reading the rest of the article here.

Home Health Awareness

William A. Dombi, president of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) shared his thoughts with Home Health Care News about the future of home-based care after the spread of COVID-19. Read the full article here.

Home Health Value-Based Purchasing Model

U.S. health care policymakers announced plans to expand the Home Health Value-based Purchasing Model (HHVBP). The model was initially implemented in 2016, but has only received minor changes since that time and has been limited to nine states. Amedisys Inc. partnered with leadership in CMS and CMMI to review the data from the program and extrapolate the potential benefits of expanding the program to all 50 states. The results indicate that $6.3 billion could be saved by expanding the program. Read the full articles here and here.

Biden Led Government Efforts
Shortly after being sworn into office, President Biden announced a new pandemic plan to deal with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis which includes tactics to address the home care workforce crisis. Read the full article here.

In-home care advocates are urging Biden to request that Medicaid reimbursement rates are raised to take into account potential minimum wage increases to avoid negative effects for home care agencies. Read the full article here.

A recent fact sheet from the Biden administration stated that workers have the federally guaranteed right to refuse employment that will jeopardize their health and if they do so they will still qualify for unemployment insurance.” Guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor is expected to clarify which workers this statement applies to. Read the full article here.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has pushed back the deadline for agencies to submit reports on the relief funds they have received from the federal government during the pandemic. Read the full article here.

Vaccination & Care

More than two-third of the HHCN survey respondents said they are concerned about patients or clients turning away visits from unvaccinated workers. Read the full article here.

Home Health M&A

The pent up demand for home health assets is expected to come to a head in Q1 of 2021 as payors and health systems shift away from institutional settings. Read the rest of the article here.

A recent survey of 100 CFOs at U.S. health care organizations indicates that the majority of health care financial leaders view home care as a key area of investment. Read the full article here.

Home Health Therapy

New data suggests that home health therapy utilization has not suffered as much under PDGM as originally anticipated. Therapy visits have actually increased slightly on 30-day claims in 2020. Read the full article here.

2021 Legal Priorities

Joyce Famakinwa from Home Health Care News interviewed healthcare lawyers about the top concerns that home health agencies should keep an eye on in 2021. Some of the topics raised include: wage-and-hour litigation, state-level regulations, federal audits and COVID-19 vaccinations. Read the rest of the article here.

HOME HEALTH CUSTOMERS IN THE NEWS

Encompass Health

The December announcement that Encompass Health is considering a strategic repositioning of their Home Health and Hospice segments has not stopped the company from actively pursuing growth in these sectors. Learn more about the company’s status by reading the full article here.

Kindred at Home

Kindred at Home came to the attention of Home Health Care News in a recent article exploring Humana’s expansion of their primary care centers. Read the full article here.

HCR Home Care and VNSNY

Home Health Care News interviewed Homecare Homebase customers HCR Home Care and VNSNY about their COVID vaccination plans. Read the full article here.

Amedisys Inc.

The board of directors of Amedisys has authorized a stock repurchase program which gives the company the green light to repurchase its common stock, including shares granted under the company’s Omnibus Incentive Plan. Read the full article here.

Ivanetta Davis Samuels is a welcome addition as the newest member of the majority women-filled board of directors for Amedisys. Samuels’ understanding of the importance of diverse perspectives and legal and public policy experience will add a unique perspective to the board. Read the rest of the article here.

Amedisys is building up a suite of services to allow for more longitudinal relationships with patients and families in response to the surging chronically ill population. Read the full article here.

Amedisys Inc. and Option Care Health Inc. have teamed up to issue COVID-19 infusion therapy to patients in long-term care facilities throughout Indianapolis and Valparaiso. Read the rest of the article here.

Pennant Group Inc.

Pennant Group Inc
. has acquired Sacred Heart Home Health Care in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona. The company has been eager to add home health services to the care continuum in Tucson for some time. Read the full article here.

RESOURCE ARTICLES

Number of MA Plans Offering SSBCI Social Needs Benefit’ Up 568% in 2021” by Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News, on January 282021

Staffing Reclaims Title of Home-Based Care Industry’s Biggest Challenge” by Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News, on January 282021

Heightened Home Health Awareness Means Higher Volumes, More Opportunities for Agencies in 2021” by Andrew Donlan, Published by Home Health Care News, on January 272021

Inadequate Medicaid Rates’ Threaten Home Care Providers Amid $15 Minimum Wage Push” by Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News, on January 272021

Biden to DOL: Workers Have the Guaranteed Right to Refuse Employment’ if They Feel Unsafe” by Andrew Donlan, Published by Home Health Care News, on January 252021

In-Home Care Providers Concerned About Clients Turning Away Unvaccinated Caregivers” by Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News, on January 262021

Biden Administration includes Home Care Workforce Crisis in New Pandemic Plan” by Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News, on January 212021

HHS Delays Provider Relief Fund Reporting Requirements in Response to Updated Utilization Guidelines” By Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News, on January 152021

Home Health Transaction Numbers Continue to Climb” by Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News, on January 212021

Home Health Therapy Utilization Increased under PDGM, New Data Suggests” by Andrew Donlan, Published by Home Health Care News, on January 192021

Top Home Health, Home Care Legal Concerns for 2021” By Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News, on January 132021

Home Health Value-Based Purchasing Model Estimated to Create $6.3B in Savings” by Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News, on January 122021

Wage Bumps, Training and Long-Term Care Financing: Recommendations for Improving Caregiver Job Quality” By Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News, on January 122021

59% of Health Care CFOs See Home Care as Key Investment Area” By Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News, on January 112021

[Updated] HHS Announces Plans to Expand the Home Health Value-Based Purchasing Model” by Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News, on January 82021

Encompass Committed To Hospice Growth While Weighing Spin Off, Sale”, by Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on January 272021 

Humana Doubles Down on Payer Agnostic Primary Care to Better Serve Seniors” by Andrew Donlan, Published by Home Health Care News on January 262021

VNSNY, HCR Home Care Outline Vaccination Strategies” by Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on January 252021

How Amedisys’ Diverse Board Sets the Tone of the Company at Large” by Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on January 252021

Amedisys Expecting Strong Growth in Chronic Illness Care” by Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on January 142021 

Amedisys, Option Care Health Partner on COVID-19 Infusion Therapy” By Holly Vossel, Published by Hospice News on January 62021

The Pennant Group Acquires Arizona Home Health Provider; Caring People Lands Multiple Home Care Companies” by Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on January 192021