New CMS Rule Encourages Home and Community-Based Care for the Elderly and Disabled

A new rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is being applauded by the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare.

The rule which was released last week by CMS, would provide states with incentive payments to better utilize home and community-based services (HCBS) care rather than more expensive, institutional settings.

“The Community First Choice Option is an excellent example of how we can and should be encouraging the use of home health among populations that can benefit the most,” stated Chairman Billy Tauzin, senior counsel to the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare.  “Increased patient access to home healthcare services that can improve care and quality of life, while also reducing taxpayer costs, is the right approach.”

States who decide to participate in the CFCO will receive a six percent increase in their Medicaid match rate. In order to get the match, ttates must meet several requirements in order to qualify for the increased match in Medicaid funds. These requirements include developing the benefit with stakeholders, including members of the senior and disabled communities, and maintaining a quality assurance system specific to the benefit and regularly reporting information to CMS.

“We applaud CMS for giving states positive incentives to keep patients in their homes and we look forward to working with CMS and individual states as they begin to implement the Community First Choice Option,” added Tauzin.  “By allowing the senior and disabled communities to have a greater role in their own care, we can more effectively deliver comprehensive care while maintaining high quality standards.”

Skilled home healthcare is clinically advanced, cost-effective and patient preferred. Nationwide, millions of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries receive skilled home healthcare services to treat illnesses related to acute, chronic or rehabilitative needs.

The Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare was established in 2010 to assist government officials in ensuring access to quality home health services for all Americans and represents more than 1,500 community- and hospital-based home healthcare agencies nationwide.

Written by John Yedinak