New CMS Hospital-at-Home Program Could Boost Business for Home Health Agencies

Posted Monday, December 7, 2020

In late November, CMS announced a new hospital-at-home waiver program that gives approved acute care facilities the ability to deliver and get paid for medical services in the home setting when in-patient capacity is severely limited.  CMS made a point to say that the new hospital-at-home waiver program was not designed for home health agencies, but there is opportunities for home health agencies.

““A program does not have to be physically administrated within a hospital, but a hospital must accept responsibility for the program in order to satisfy the Conditions of Participations for this level of patient care,” CMS noted. “Additionally, the program must be integrated within a hospital to a sufficient degree to ensure that rapid escalation of care is seamless.”

That language suggests there may be ample hospital-at-home opportunities for home health agencies that are already housed within larger health systems, though that size of that group continues to shrink. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, many hospitals decided to close their agencies or spin them off as freestanding entities, partly due to reimbursement pressures.”

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