Vaccination Updates, Choose Home and Proposed Rule Reactions
To keep you informed on news, innovation, education and advocacy issues around home-based care, we’ve pulled together these important headlines.
COVID 19 Study
CMS released a study stating that although nursing home residents are only 2% of the Medicare population, they account for 22% of all COVID cases for Medicare patients. This means that nursing home residents were 14x more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19. The study is a strong argument for legislation supporting care in the home. Read the full article here.
New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo announced that all of New York’s health care workers are required to take the COVID vaccine by Sept. 27. Specific call outs for the mandate include nursing home, adult care, long-term care and hospital workers. Home health workers were not mentioned directly in the order causing confusion in the industry over requirements. Read the rest of the article here.
CMS announced that nursing home staff must now be vaccinated in order to be reimbursed by Medicare or Medicaid. While this mandate does not extend directly to the home health and hospice industries, it could cause stumbling blocks for referrals or organizations sending nurses to care for patients within nursing homes. Read the full article here.
Caring.com surveyed over 2,000 caregivers to learn more about vaccine hesitancy. One in 10 of the vaccine-hesitant caregivers stated that they believe COVID-19 is a hoax and 54% said they would rather lose their jobs than get vaccinated. Read the rest of the article here.
The mass resignation of hundreds of in-home health care workers in Rhode Island has providers nation-wide worried about the consequences of other statewide mandates that might be coming down the pipeline. In some cases, home health and hospice are exempt from current mandates, but it is expected that mandates will expand to include the entire industry. Read the full article here.
New Vaccination Program
NAHC, the National Minority Health Association (NMHA) and the Flex for Checks program are teaming up with companies like AccentCare to encourage home-based care workers to get vaccinated. The goal of the program is to increase vaccination confidence and rates in underserved communities. Read the rest of the article here.
Choose Home Bill
The newly introduced Choose Home Bill would help in-home care providers expand offerings to include services like meals, transportation and ADL assistance that affect the social determinants of health. This bill has the potential to reshape the U.S. health care system for seniors. Beneficiaries would be able to receive 360 hours of extended care services offered in their home. Read the full article here.
The use of telehealth has increased by more than 38 times since the pandemic started and home health agencies are some of the organizations that are most eager to adopt this technology. Telehealth is often used for wound care, personal care and speech therapy services. A study on the impact of telehealth showed that patients who receive hybrid care (a combination of telehealth and in-person visits) have significantly fewer hospitalizations and better outcomes. Read the rest of the article here.
NHPCO and its members have submitted comments to CMS regarding the hospice provisions in the proposed 2022 home health rule. Members are concerned about some of the specifics and have suggested revisions to improve standardization and consistency and bring hospice regulations in line with other post-acute care providers. Read the full article here.
THIS MONTH IN HOME HEALTH
CMS has hailed the Home Health Value-Based Purchasing Model as one of the agency’s most successful programs of all time. Since its launch in 2010, CMMI has launched over 50 alternative payment models incentivizing quality care at lower costs. HHVBP is one of six models that has shown success. The model has resulting in an average savings of $141 million since 2016. Read the full article here.
Remote Care Technologies
A survey of health systems indicates that 81% of health system leaders plan to increase investment in home care technology. Systems that have already incorporated remote care technologies have seen reduced hospital admissions, patient improvement and increased patient satisfaction. Read the rest of the article here.
Proposed Payment Rule
As the time for public comments wraps up on the home health proposed payment rule, Home Health Care News took the time to review the feedback. Topics for comments include HHVBP, support of greater freedoms for OTs and clarification requests regarding NOAs. Read the full article here.
Review Choice Demonstration
CMS has adjusted an important rule regarding the upcoming Review Choice Demonstration (RDC) deadline for September to alleviate concerns raised by providers. Originally, claims made prior to Sept. 1st were going to be subjected to the RDC. However, now only claims with dates of service on or after September 1st will be subject to the ADR/prepayment review. Read the rest of the article here.
New research has been published stating that Medicare patients with diabetes are more likely to have hospital readmissions if they do not receive home health services within two days of discharge from an acute setting. In addition, racial and ethnic disparities sometimes play a role in the delay of services. Read the full article here.
HOME HEALTH CUSTOMERS IN THE NEWS
The LHC Group has doubled its previous goal for acquired revenue in 2021 from $350 million to $500 million. The company expects to continue this progress in 2022 and has expanded its revolving credit facility to $800 million to aide that goal. Read the rest of the article here.
A recent press release announced that CommonSpirit Health improved overall outcomes and saved Medicare $136 million in 2020. This savings was achieved through the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP). As part of the program, CommonSpirit has 14 accountable care organizations (ACOs). These ACOs saved Medicare 9.3 million, surpassing the ACO average by 1.3 million. Savings has not resulted in a loss of quality care. CommonSpirit boasts an average quality score of 98%. Read the full article here.
Elara Caring announced the selection of Ananth Mohan as its new chief operating officer. His experience in health care operations is a great fit for the company’s new growth and innovation mindset. The organization spans 225 offices in 16 states and services 65,000 patients. Read the rest of the article here.
New York-based ArchCare is one of the best examples of success for the PACE model. ArchCare is part of the Archdiocese of New York’s health care system and its PACE operations have grown from a single site in 2009 to seven locations in four counties. The company includes a PACE system that cares for 750 members as well as skilled nursing facilities, hospitals a home care agency and ancillary programs. Read the full article here.
Addus HomeCare Corporation
Addus HomeCare Corporation posted promising growth numbers in Q2. The company improved revenue in all three sectors, personal care, home health and hospice. Net service revenues were up 18.1% year over year. Personal care revenue rose 13%, home health 25% and hospice 51%. To fuel future acquisitions, Addus has doubled its revolving credit facility to $600 million. Read the rest of the article here.
Royal Care stands out as a home health agency providing distinctive caregiver perks for staff. The company offers professional nursing and geriatric care as well as rehabilitation and housekeeping services in New York. The perks program gives caregivers access to top manicurists, hair stylists, makeup artists and salon specialists out of a “perks facility” in Brooklyn. In addition to beauty services, he perks facility offers an in-house nutritionist, ESL classes, advanced home care and technology classes. Royal care has seen a 90% retention rate as a result of its focus on caring for staff. Read the full article here.
Visiting Nurse Association Group
Dr. Steve Landers, President and CEO of Visiting Nurse Association Health Group was featured in Home Health Care News’ Fast-Forward Series. Dr. Landers spoke about the importance of growing telehealth and video conferencing abilities and a strong focus on worker recruitment and retention. Read the full article here.
Amedisys has expressed optimism on the home health front and is excited about expanding business through its recent acquisition of Contessa. The company has shared some struggles on the hospice front due to COVID-19 and business development challenges. Read the rest of the article here.
The Pennant Group
The Pennant Group includes 86 home health and hospice agencies, as well as 54 senior living communities. The company’s reach spans 14 states and though the delta variant has caused concern, the organization is optimistic about its 2022 outlook. The company has posted impressive growth year over year increasing home health revenue by 70% and hospice revenue by 13% in Q2. Read the full article here.
The Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY)
CEO of VNSNY, Dan Savitt sat down with Home Health Care News to discuss the changes he believes HHVBP can bring to the industry. The team at VNSNY believes in the power of value-based care to better align care and reimbursement across the nation. Read the rest of the article here.
The Visiting Nurse Service of New York is working to address social determinants of health for patients and families through a partnership with Healthify. They will use Healthify’s platform to help screen for social needs, locate resources and refer patients to the appropriate supportive organizations. Addressing the social determinants of health early can improve care quality and reduce costs while allowing patients to remain their homes. Read the full article here.
Aveanna Healthcare Holdings Inc.
The spotlight on Aveanna’s growth has been shining in the wake of the company’s transition to public trading this Spring. The current growth strategy is focused on home health, with deals such as the acquisition of Florida-based Doctor’s Choice. The organization offers home health and hospice services in 30 states and maintains an incredibly diverse payor mix. Read the full article here.
Bayada Home Health Care
Bayada participated as a provider representative at a press conference hosted by LeadingAge. The press conference focused on the importance of passing an act currently in progress that would provide $400 billion in federal relief or home and community-based services. This assistance is considered vital for providers who need assistance with training, recruitment and retention funds to combat the severe worker shortage. Read the rest of the article here.
“Choose Home Bill Looks to Make Home Health the Center of the Health Care World” By Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on August 1, 2021
“Home Health Telehealth Utilization Likely to Remain Strong” By Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on August 10, 2021
“Mandatory Vaccine Announcement Causes Confusion Among Home-Based Care Providers” By Andrew Donlan, Published by Home Health Care News on August 16, 2021
“New Nursing Home Vaccine Requirements Could Trigger Staffing Scramble in Post-Acute Care” By Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on August 18, 2021
“NAHC, National Minority Health Association Announce New Vaccination Program for the Home-Based Care Workforce” By Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on August 23, 2021
“CMS Study Shows Astonishing Disparity Between COVID-19 Cases in Nursing Homes and the Community” By Andrew Donlan, Published by Home Health Care News on August 25, 2021
“‘Mass Exodus’ of Nursing Home Staff Likely to Impact Home Health Providers” By Andrew Donlan, Published by Home Health Care News on August 29, 2021
“‘We Are Losing Excellent Direct Care Staff’: Home-Based Care Providers Report Vaccine-Mandate Blowback” By Andrew Donlan, Published by Home Health Care News on August 31, 2021
“Hospice Community Responds to Proposed Survey Reforms in CMS Home Health Rule” By Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on August 31, 2021
“ArchCare CEO: Operational Flexibility Key to PACE Model’s Long-Term Success” By Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on August 1, 2021
“Addus Doubles Credit Facility to $600M, Maintains Focus on Home Health Expansion” By Andrew Donlan, Published by Home Health Care News on August 1, 2021
“Alliance, Royal Care Slash Caregiver Turnover by Investing in Creative Benefits” By Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on August 2, 2021
“LHC Group Touts ‘Record Year’ for Acquired Revenue in 2021” By Andrew Donlan, Published by Home Health Care News on August 1, 2021
“Fast Forward with Dr. Steve Landers, President and CEO, Visiting Nurse Association Health Group” By Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on August 4, 2021
“With Contessa Deal Finalized, Amedisys Ready to Explore ‘New Frontier’ of Home-Based Care“ By Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on August 5, 2021
“The Pennant Group Holds Firm on Home Health Growth Strategy Amid Labor, COVID-19 Challenges” By Andrew Donlan, Published by Home Health Care News on August 10, 2021
“VNSNY CEO Dan Savitt: HHVBP Should Include Shared-Savings Opportunities, ‘Stabilization’ Measures” By Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on August 11, 2021
“Aveanna Applauds 2022 Proposed Payment Rule, Sets Sights on Home Health Growth” By Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on August 12, 2021
“CMS Officials Reflect on the Home Health Value-Based Purchasing Model’s Success” By Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on August 15, 2021
“VNSNY Partners with Healthify to Address Social Determinants of Health” By Jim Parker, Published by Hospice News on August 12, 2021
“81% of Health System Leaders Plan to Bump Up Their Investment in Remote Care Technology” By Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on August 18, 2021
“‘It’s Inherently Unfair’: Home Health Stakeholders Slam Portions of the Proposed Payment Rule” By Andrew Donlan, Published by Home Health Care News on August 26, 2021
“‘This Is the Biggest Break We’ve Had’: CMS Makes Major Alteration to Review Choice Demonstration” By Andrew Donlan, Published by Home Health Care News on August 26, 2021
“Elara Caring Names COO; Prospero Health Appoints C-Suite Executives” By Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on August 29, 2021
“Staffing Shortages Force Home Health Giant Bayada to Deny 64% of Referrals in Key Markets” By Andrew Donlan, Published by Home Health Care News on August 31, 2021
“How CommonSpirit Reduced Medicare Spending by $136M” By Joyce Famakinwa, Published by Home Health Care News on August 30, 2021
“Home Health Services Critical for Lowering Rehospitalization Rates for Medicare Patients with Diabetes” By Robert Holly, Published by Home Health Care News on August 31, 2021