Posted on Sunday, February 18, 2018 4:05 PM
NAHC hosted a webinar earlier this week discussing the implications included in the new spending bill for home health care.
In kicking off the webinar, Bill Dombi, President of NAHC stated “The National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) will continue to work to make improvements to the now public law; bringing regulatory relief, fairness in reimbursement, and protecting patient access to care. There are quite a few provisions that are worthy of celebration.”
Here are just a few highlights:
The new law reduces the payment period from 60 days to 30 days but does not impact the payment amount at this time.
The HHGM model is back but how it will be implemented is still unclear. It does need to be implemented on a budget neutral basis which is a win for agencies.
The rural add-on was extended for five additional years, with an associated study to analyze it for future improvements.
The spending bill repeal of the IPAB was also good news. It is perceived that by eliminating its existence, it will protect providers from unfair and unjustified cuts.
For Hospice, physician assistants can now act as attending physician for their patients in hospice. Making this allowance to physician assistants will improve access to care for hospice recipients, particularly those in areas where physicians and nurse practitioners are not practicing.
“In another hospice provision, legislation addressed early discharges to hospice from a hospital. Under current policy, if a patient is discharged from a hospital to another hospital, or post-acute care setting before a stay threshold based on Medicare severity diagnosis related group (MS-DRG) is met, the reimbursement shifts to a per-diem amount to the hospital. The stay threshold is not met if the length of stay is at least one day less than the geometric mean length of stay for the MS-DRG.”
This provision willl go into effect in October of this year. This is worrisome to NAHC as it gives little time to prepare for implementation before they fully understand the impact on hospice providers.
At the end of the day, the spending bill has both good and some troublesome provisions. NAHC is working hard to make sure the home health is being protected.
To hear the full webinar, sponsored by NAHC, please click here.
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