Editor’s Picks: Proposed Medicare Cuts Shake Up Home Health Industry

In case you missed it, here are the top headlines grabbing readers’ attention this week, plus some other notable stories from around the web that caught our eye here at HHCN:

Spotlight On: Medicare Cuts, New Payment Policy

Home Health Agencies Face $350 Million Medicare Cut, New Payment Model — The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed a new value-based purchasing model that would tie Medicare payments for home health agencies in nine randomly selected states to quality performance. The agency described the new model in the same proposed rule that put forward payment policies for calendar year 2016, which would result in a $350 million overall reduction in HHA payments.

Home Health Closures, Mergers Expected Under Medicare Proposal — While the newly proposed Medicare payment policies for 2016 likely will create advantages for larger providers, smaller players could be forced out of business, industry leaders and market analysts say.

Drastic Payment Cuts Would be Rare in New Model, CMS Says — Under the new The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) payment proposal, home health agencies (HHAs) in the selected states that perform very poorly on the quality measures could have their reimbursements slashed by up to 5% in 2016, with that escalating to 8% by the time the model ends in 2022, CMS explained during a recent call with home health providers. But very few HHAs will actually see their reimbursements cut or supplemented by the full 5%, according to officials on the call.

Legislative Roundup

Medicare Telehealth Parity Act of 2015: The Medicare Telehealth Parity Act of 2015, introduced July 7, is a re-proposed version of a bill put forward last year to increase telehealth reimbursements and broaden its use in the home.

RAISE Family Caregivers Act: The Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act, introduced July 8, would expand federal support of family caregivers and calls on providers to help facilitate this through such things as enhanced care transitions between settings.

Weekend Read

Is It Time For Tax Credits To Help People Age In Place? — Tweaking the tax code may be one solution to help seniors afford aging in place, suggests a recent Forbes article. Many homes do not accommodate aging in place, and retrofitting homes can be a huge expense.

Written by Cassandra Dowell