The Top 10 Home Health Care News Stories of 2016

Home Health Care News had a record-breaking year for readers and viewership. With all that went on in 2016, we kept readers up to date on breaking news across the industry.

From the implementation of a disruptive, new demonstration to the surprising election of President-elect Trump, here’s our list of the top posts of the year:

1. Jun 8CMS Launches Home Health Prior Authorization Requirement

Despite strong pushback from the home health industry and lawmakers, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) moved forward with a preauthorization requirement—the Pre-Claim Review Demonstration (PCRD).

2. October 21—Top 10 Largest Home Health Providers

Providers across the spectrum tapped into the home health market to expand their services across multiple facets of care, as evidenced by LexisNexis’ 2015 rankings of the leading home health agencies in the United States. The report ranks Medicare-certified home health providers by national market share and aims to map the market landscape for potential merger and acquisition activity.

3. November 7—Kindred to Exit the Skilled Nursing Facility Business

Kindred Healthcare (NYSE: KND), the nation’s largest home health care and hospice provider, has bet higher on this side of its business, after announcing it would entirely cease to own or operate skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). Upon Kindred’s exit from the SNF business, roughly half of its earnings will come from the home health side of the company.

4. June 22—OIG Flags 500 Home Health Agencies as Fraud Battle Intensifies

Federal authorities turned up the heat even more in their battle against Medicare home health fraud. The top targets: More than 500 home health agencies and 4,500 physicians identified as having suspicious practices as compared with most providers nationally.

5. September 1—Senators Push for Pre-Claim Delay After ‘Complete Mess’ in Illinois

U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) called for a controversial home health pre-claim review demonstration program to be delayed in Florida, and they reiterated concerns over how pre-claim threatens providers and patients.

6. January 28—CMS Issues Final Rule on Medicaid Face-to-Face Requirement

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued its final rule requiring that physicians conduct and record face-to-face visits with patients in order to receive Medicaid coverage for home health services and medical equipment, similar to regulations already in place for Medicare.

7. October 17—Almost Family Deal Forms Largest Hospital, Home Health Joint Venture

One of the nation’s largest home health care providers has entered into an agreement to acquire a controlling interest in the home health and hospice assets of one of the nation’s largest hospital companies. The result will be the biggest hospital-home health joint venture in the nation, the companies announced Monday.

8. June 22—Feds Target Home Health in Historic, $900 Million Fraud Bust

The Medicare Strike Force has engaged in a three-day execution of the largest fraudulent billions takedown—that includes home health agencies—in the group’s history. Approximately 300 people were charged across 36 federal districts for their alleged participation in a variety of schemes that involved more than $900 million in fraudulent health care billings, according to Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

9. November 9—Home Health Industry Ponders Meaning of Trump Victory

In a year full of new challenges for the home health and home care industry, one outstanding uncertainty has finally been put to rest—Donald Trump has won the U.S. presidency. While America’s next president is decided, the impact to the home health industry and the larger health care system is still largely unknown.

10. September 20—Pre-Claim Review Delayed Ahead of Florida Start Date

Amid reports that the rollout of the Pre-Claim Review Demonstration (PCRD) in Illinois led to a “complete mess,” the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) delayed the start date in Florida by at least 30 days, the agency announced.

Written by Amy Baxter