CMS Issues Proposed Rule To Modernize Home Health Care

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued proposed regulation to modernize home health regulations for the first time since 1989 with a focus on patient-centered, well-coordinated care.

The revision of the Home Health Conditions of Participation (HH CoPs) has been long-awaited, industry players say.

Although CMS has made several significant revisions to the HH CoPs throughout the years, many of the current CoPs have remained unchanged since their inception. In 1997, CMS attempted to revise the HH CoPs with a proposed rule that focused on patient-centered outcome oriented quality standards.

However, since CMS did not publish a final rule within the required three years time frame, the proposed rule was rescinded.

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) is currently assessing the proposed rule, the association says.

“We want to work closely with the Medicare program and other stakeholders on this effort to modernize the Home Health Conditions of Participation,” says Val J. Halamandaris, president of NAHC, in a written statement. “Our goal is to help the home care industry maintain its high standards to the benefit of the venerable population we serve.”

CMS proposes to transform the HHCoPs using the following principles: develop a more continuous, integrated care process across all aspects of home health services, based on a patient-centered assessment, care planning, service delivery, and quality assessment and performance improvement; use a patient-centered, interdisciplinary approach that recognizes the contributions of various skilled professionals and their interactions with each other to meet the patient’s needs; and stress quality improvements by incorporating an outcome-oriented, data-driven quality assessment and performance improvement program  specific to each HHA.

In addition, CMS proposes to eliminate the focus on administrative process requirements that lack adequate consensus or evidence that they are predictive of either achieving clinically relevant outcomes for patients or preventing harmful outcomes for patients; and safeguard patient rights.

CMS’ two-prong effort will have also have wide implications for nursing home agencies. 

CMS would expand and strengthen the agency’s Five Star Quality Rating System for nursing homes, which the agency says will improve consumer information about the quality of individual nursing homes.

Comments are due 60 days from the October 9 publication date in the Federal Register.

Read the proposed rule here

Written by Cassandra Dowell

Cassandra Dowell

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