New Bills, CMS and Direct Contracting Changes Affect Home Health
To keep you informed on news, innovation, education and advocacy issues around home-based care, we’ve pulled together these important headlines.
Direct CARE Opportunity Act
A bill has been introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives that is designed to grant federal funds to home-based providers for recruitment, retention and advancement of direct care workers. The Direct CARE Opportunity Act works to address the need “for a prepared, well-trained and empowered direct care workforce now and for the future.” Read the full article here.
Better Care Better Jobs Act
After the removal of HCBS support from the infrastructure package, a group of senators announced a new bill to give states more money to expand home-based care programs and make some temporary policies permanent. Read the rest of the article here.
A new $1.2 trillion bi-partisan proposal from the senate includes infrastructure updates such as roads, bridges, airports and waterways, but removes $400 billion in anticipated funds from HCBS. Senator Elizabeth Warren expressed her dismay over these changes. Read the rest of the article here.
The U.S. Senate continued the infrastructure conversation with a special committee on aging hearing. During the hearing, caregivers and leaders providing HCBS services spoke. There is evidence of strong bipartisan support for aging in place, but disagreement on whether HCBS services should count as infrastructure and be given further monetary support. Read the full article here.
From transportation agreements to employee engagement and business development tools, the variety of important partnerships in home-based care is impressive. Leaders in home care came together to share their opinions on which partnerships are the most important in 2021. Read the full article here.
Medicare advantage plans have seen impressive growth over the past couple of years. Today, more than 26 million beneficiaries are enrolled in MA, which is close to 42% of the total Medicare program. The Congressional Budget Office, believes that number will rise to close to 40 million by 2023. Read the rest of the article here.
CMS has raised the reimbursement rate for in home vaccinations to encourage more Medicare vaccination deployment for vulnerable homebound populations. The reimbursement rate for in home vaccinations is now $75 per dose. CMS has also provided a new billing code to help track the number of in-home vaccinations moving forward. Read the full article here.
Provider Relief Funds
$10 billion of the remaining CARES Act funds will be dispersed soon and official reporting for how previously dispersed funds have been spent will begin soon. The PRF reporting portal will open for providers on July 1st and the initial reporting period will run through September 30, 2021. Read the rest of the article here.
If your organization is entertaining the idea of selling or acquiring another agency, take a careful look at PPP loan status. There are rules for negotiating on a deal when PPP loans are involved. Make sure you understand your agency’s status. Read the full article here.
MedPAC recommended that CMMI consider reducing the number of overlapping programs/models and focus on clarity and harmony to avoid unintended consequences. Read the rest of the article here.
THIS MONTH IN HOME HEALTH
New York Medicaid Changes
Trouble is brewing in New York for home care providers. A Medicaid policy provision included in the state’s 2020 final budget may arbitrarily limit the number of home-based care organizations that are allowed to provide care in New York. Advocates are urging lawmakers to overturn the provision before it goes into effect. Read the rest of the article here.
CMS recently announced the termination of the Next Generation ACO Model at the end of the year. Some participants have been invited to join the 53 currently approved Direct Contracting entities. Despite its paused status, direct contracting seems to be one of the best home health options for value-based payment models. Read the full article here.
Continuity of Care
A new study from NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing found that continuity of care is linked to lower rehospitalization rates for dementia patients. People with low to moderate continuity of care were 30-33% more likely to be readmitted to the hospital. Read the rest of the article here.
The proposed payment rule for 2022 has been released by CMS. Plans to expand the Home Health Value-Based Purchasing (HHVBP) model nationwide were included in the announcement. Also detailed were a 1.7% increase in Medicare payments for home health agencies and tweaks for home health conditions of participation (CoPs). In addition, CMS is creating a LUPA add-on for occupational therapists. Read the full article here.
HOME HEALTH CUSTOMERS IN THE NEWS
During the fall out from the pandemic and PDGM, LHC Group, Inc. has focused M&A efforts on growing their hospice service lines in areas of the country where the company has a home health or community-based services presence. LHC recently announced the acquisition of Heart of Hospice, a hospice agency with locations in five states. Read the full article here.
Addus HomeCare Corporation
Addus is looking to acquire home health locations in areas where the company already has a strong personal care presence such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Tennessee and Illinois. Leadership expects clinical home health revenue for the company to raise from its current 20% rate in the next couple of years. Read the rest of the article here.
Addus Chief Strategy Officer Darby Anderson discussed challenges including workforce shortages on Home Health Care News’ Disrupt podcast. The initiative to build a personal care-inclusive EHR that spans the full home-based care continuum was also discussed. Read the full article here.
Bayada Home Health Care
Bayada Home Health Care has formed a new joint venture named “VCU Health at Home by Bayada” with VCU Health System. The enterprise will provide home-based care services in Richmond, Virginia and surrounding counties. Read the full article here.
Barbara A. Jacobsmeyer has been appointed as the new home health and hospice CEO, Encompass Health. Her previous role at the company was President of the in-patient hospitals segment. Read the full article here.
The current head of investor relations at Encompass Health, Crissy Carlisle, has been appointed CFO of the company’s home health and hospice segment. This announcement has been taken as an indication that Encompass Health is leaning towards a spinoff rather than sale for the home health and hospice segment. No official plans have been announced however. Read the rest of the article here.
National Healthcare Corp.
NHC has acquired total ownership of Caris Health. The company previously held a majority stake in the hospice and palliative provider. Caris Health has 28 locations operating in five states and includes pediatric hospice and transitional care. Read the rest of the article here.
AccentCare has purchased Southeastern Health Care at Home from Geneva Glen Capital. Southeastern Health Care operates 12 locations in Pennsylvania and Virginia and delivers home health, hospice, palliative mobile primary and wound care services. The acquisition is a good fit because of the alignment between the two companies on the importance of strategic partnerships and care delivery. Read the full article here.
“Strength in Numbers: Home Care Executives Reveal 2021’s Most Important Partnerships” By Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on June 1, 2021
“Home Care Providers Likely to See More Medicare Advantage Opportunities as Enrollment Grows” By Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on June 8, 2021
“To Better Protect Homebound Seniors, CMS Boosts Medicare Rates for At-Home COVID-19 Vaccinations” By Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on June 9, 2021
“‘Care Is Infrastructure’: Sen. Warren Calls for HCBS Support Following New Bipartisan Proposal” By Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on June 13, 2021
“HHS Issues New Reporting Requirements, Deadlines for Provider Relief Fund Recipients” By Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on June 11, 2021
“PPP Forgiveness Continues to Slow Down the Home Health M&A Process” By Andrew Donlan, Published by Home Health Care News on June 14, 2021
“MedPAC: CMMI Should Consider a ‘Smaller, More Harmonized’ Portfolio of Alternative Payment Models” By Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on June 15, 2021
“Senators, Advocates Tout ‘Once-in-a-Generation Opportunity’ for Funding HCBS” By Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on June 17, 2021
“Congress Mulls Bill to Bulk Up Direct Care Hospice, Home Health Workforce” By Holly Vossel, Published by Hospice News on June 25, 2021
“‘Better Care Better Jobs Act’ Seeks Permanent FMAP Bump, Higher Wages for HCBS Workers” By Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on June 24, 2021
“LHC Group Bides Its Time on Home Health M&A, Inks Another Hospice Deal” By Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on June 2, 2021
“Addus Focused on Sourcing New Home Health Acquisitions, Improving Applicant-Conversion Rates” By Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on June 2, 2021
“Bayada, VCU Health System Form New Joint Venture; Choice Health Makes Multiple Acquisitions” By Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on June 4, 2021
“Addus Chief Strategy Officer: Workforce Shortage Remains ‘Biggest Challenge in All of HCBS’” By Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on June 10, 2021
“Home-Based Care Providers Fear They’re Being Squeezed Out of Medicaid” By Andrew Donlan, Published by Home Health Care News on June 1, 2021
“Home Health Providers Likely to Play ‘Very Important Role’ in Direct Contracting” By Andrew Donlan, Published by Home Health Care News on June 3, 2021
“Jacobsmeyer Named CEO of Home Health & Hospice at Encompass” By Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on June 21, 2021
“Majority Stakeholder NHC Acquires Full Ownership of Caris Hospice” By Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on June 21, 2021
“Care Continuity Likely Lowers Rehospitalization Risk for Home Health Patient with Dementia” By Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on June 27, 2021
“CMS Proposes $310M Home Health Payment Boost, National Expansion of HHVBP” By Andrew Donlan, Published by Home Health Care News on June 28, 2021
“AccentCare Enters Two New Markets with Purchase of Southeastern Health Care at Home” By Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on June 28, 2021
“Encompass Health May Be Nearing Home Health, Hospice Spinoff” By Andrew Donlan, Published by Home Health Care News on June 29, 2021