While the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services was directed to implement intermediate sanctions for noncompliant home health agencies in 1987, the agency has failed to issue a final rule on the subject according to a report form Health Care Finance News.
CMS has has the ability to terminate noncompliant agencies, it should have the ability to impose civil penalties, payment suspension and appointment of temporary management according to the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA). The Office of Inspector General is putting additional pressure on CMS to implement the rule it was supposed to implement almost 15 years ago.
According to Health Care Finance News, home health agencies are aware that a proposed rule on intermediate sections may be coming as soon as September.
“Agencies now have condition levels, they are writing their plan aggression, they are being resurveyed, they are staying in the program and so they would look on this as an additional burden,” said said Mary St. Pierre, vice president, regulatory affairs, the National Association for Home Care and Hospice. “Having to either pay a fine or have some sort of management over them or whatever else CMS comes up with.”
Neil Hoffman, an Atlanta-based lawyer with Arnall Golden Gregory, told Health Care Finance News that agencies need to start preparing themselves now.
“Any home health agency that has been experiencing (problems related to Medicare conditions of participation), try and get their house in order because, obviously, the ultimate penalty is the exclusion from Medicare and nobody wants that,” Hoffman said.
Written by John Yedinak