Editor’s Picks: $130 Million Medicare Cut, Brookdale’s ‘Corporate Raid’ Debacle

Happy November, Home Health Care News readers! It’s officially Home Care & Hospice Month, according to the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC), and with the presidential election only days away, caregiver issues are on the national conscience.

Our most-read stories this week were about the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) latest Medicare payment cuts; an alleged “corporate raid” that hurt Brookdale Senior Living’s (NYSE: BKD) home health business last quarter; Encompass Home Health’s plans for Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) bundled payments; and NAHC’s plan to file a lawsuit against CMS regarding pre-claim.

Here in the newsroom, we’re all elated that the Chicago Cubs won the 2016 World Series, even if the one Chicago White Sox fan among us is hesitant to admit it.

Most Read

CMS Finalizes $130 Million Medicare Payment Cut in 2017—Home health agencies can expect Medicare payments in 2017 to be reduced by $130 million, or 0.7%, according CMS, which announced the finalized policies to the prospective payment system on Oct. 31. The final numbers represent fewer payment cuts than the proposed changes announced earlier this year by CMS. The agency previously proposed reducing home health care payments by $180 million in 2017, or 1%.

Alleged ‘Corporate Raid’ Hurts Brookdale’s Home Health Business—The nation’s sixth-largest home health provider, Brookdale Senior Living, is blaming “an aggressive and egregious corporate raid in southern Florida” for the poor performance of its home health, hospice and outpatient therapy business segments, according to executives on its third-quarter 2016 earnings call Tuesday. Specifically, more than 20 associates from Brookdale’s community-based home health business in Florida, Nurse on Call Home Health Care, joined a new organization that competes directly with Nurse on Call earlier this year. There, the former Nurse on Call associates allegedly engaged in illegal activity that negatively impacted Brookdale’s bottom line.

Encompass Bets It Can Win on CJR Bundles in 2017—Encompass Home Health, the home health segment of HealthSouth, posted adjusted earnings of $25.8 million in the third quarter of 2016, a 25% year-over-year increase. Moving forward—under a new CEO—HealthSouth will begin executing a plan to take on Medicare reimbursement risk as a “collaborator” in the CJR bundled payment initiative, executives said Friday on an earnings call.

NAHC to File Lawsuit to Stop Pre-Claim—The NAHC board of directors has authorized a lawsuit against CMS, which the association says “is currently ravaging our Illinois members and threatening to do the same across the country.” The lawsuit likely will be filed within weeks and will seek an injunction to stop the Pre-Claim Review Demonstration (PCRD) in Illinois, William Dombi, NAHC’s vice president for law, told Home Health Care News.

Weekend Reads

The Workers Who Have The Most at Stake In This Election Are Not White Men—The workers with the most on the line in the 2016 presidential election earn minimum wage, are disproportionately Latino or black, and they frequently depend on government-subsidized or government-paid health plans, according to The Washington Post. Home health care and home care workers are included in this category, the article says.

AARP Launches Caregiver-Focused Website With Help From UnitedHealthcare, Teladoc, Others—AARP subsidiary AARP Services recently launched CareConnection, a new, interactive website intended to fill in the gaps in the caregiving market, MobiHealthNews reported. The CareConnection website, which is now in beta, brings together resources such as professional caregiving advice from UnitedHealthcare, in-home care support, meal delivery services from bistroMD and Teladoc-powered telehealth services. CareConnection will also offer a mobile app that matches caregivers with their peers, allowing them to share their best tips, life hacks, and ways to adapt regular household items to help other caregivers do their jobs more effectively, the article says.

Facing Financial Reality When Early Dementia is Diagnosed—About 33% of people 65 or older who die in any given year have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or a different kind of dementia. The best way to avoid financial problems if or when dementia takes hold is to plan ahead when your mental faculties are still intact, The Washington Post reported.

Written by Mary Kate Nelson