Monday Briefing: Republicans Go Nuclear, Gorsuch Confirmed

Happy Monday, dearest Home Health Care News readers. Check out our Monday Briefing to get caught up on the news and ready for the week ahead.

Keep reading to see our top stories from last week.

Gorsuch Confirmed to Supreme Court

Judge Neil Grouch was confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice on Friday, April 7, by the U.S. Senate after Republicans Senators engaged what has been dubbed the “nuclear option.” The option was a significant rule change for the Senate after Republicans ensured the threshold to secure the Supreme Court nomination could be done with a simple majority vote, rather than a 60-vote majority.

Prior to becoming a Supreme Court Justice, Gorsuch, as a Federal Circuit Judge had ties to cases involving home health care, including one last year that involved an $800,000 recoupment by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) from an agency.

Gorsuch one of three judges in the U.S. Court of Appeals 10th Circuit that overturned a previous ruling that home health care agency Caring Hearts had to repay $800,000 to CMS. The appeals court sided with Caring Hearts that they did not have to repay the amount. The ruling was overturned because CMS based its case against Caring Heats on rules that did not exist at the time the home health services were provided, Gorsuch and the other circuit judges ruled.

In an interesting conclusion, the judges found that CMS was “struggling to keep up with the furious pace of its own rule making.”

ACA Finds New Support

In other news, support for The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), which has come under siege since the new administration took office, has reached a new all-time high in support from Americans. For the first time ever, a majority of Americans—55%—support Obamacare, according to an April Gallup poll. The bump in support—which hovered at 42% after the 2016 election—comes on the heels of the Republicans’ failed attempt to repeal and replace the ACA in early March.

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To the delight of many home health care owners, the Pre-Claim Review Demonstration (PCRD) was delayed from being implemented in Florida and paused in Illinois on March 31. For Florida, the news came the day before the controversial program was scheduled to begin. PCRD will be put on hold for at least 30 days in Illinois, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced.

Another big home health regulation may also be delayed—the Conditions of Participation (CoPs). CMS proposed delaying implementation of the new CoPs until January 2018, instead of July 2017, to allow agencies more time to comply.

Executive compensation at Kindred Healthcare (NYSE: KND) made headlines this week, as CEO Benjamin Breier saw his compensation jump nearly 30% in 2016, while other executives saw their compensation decline amid the company’s ongoing changes.

Written by Amy Baxter