Home Health Group Takes Aim at New Congress

With a new Congress already in place on Capitol Hill and the incoming Trump administration set to assume its post in the next few weeks, home health care industry groups are looking to push forth familiar agendas.

On the docket of industry groups are several bills that would improve new regulations or put a stop to burdensome programs already in place, including the controversial Pre-Claim Review Demonstration (PCRD).

At the same time, the home health industry has braced itself for the finalized Conditions of Participation (CoP) rule, which were released late Monday.

The final rule revises the Conditions of Participation (CoP) that home health providers must meet to participate in Medicare and Medicaid. The proposed rule was released in late 2014 to modernize home health care regulations for the first time since 1989, according to Joy Cameron, vice president of public policy at the Visiting Nurse Association of America (VNAA), who briefed association members Monday on policy changes likely to come.

Many industry groups, including VNAA and the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC), said changes to the conditions were needed, though they voiced concerns at the time on several proposals.

Legislation on Deck

As the industry wades through its new CoPs in the final rule, VNAA and other groups are still charging ahead by reintroducing legislation to the new Congress. Specifically, VNAA is hoping to get the Pre-Claim Undermines Seniors’ Health (PUSH) Act back into focus.

The bill was introduced to Congress by Representative Tom Price (R-GA-6), who has since been chosen as President-elect Trump’s pick for Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The bill would put a one-year moratorium on PCRD, which is set to roll out in its second state, Florida, beginning April 1, 2017.

With Price moving on to a new post, VNAA is seeking its next sponsors of the PUSH Act, Nathan Constable, director of legislative affairs, told members of the organization’s plans.

Other aims of VNAA include policy to improve home health documentation, hospice training and the Home Health Planning and Priority Act.

“We made great strides on these [bills], beefed up co-sponsors, and have been able to get hearings, get agreements on legislative language for face-to-face [requirements],” Constable said. “Unfortunately, all bills must be reintroduced in the new Congress.”

Beyond legislation, the organization is keeping close watch on the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which Republican members of Congress have already started to move on. President-elect Trump’s promise of changing the Medicaid financial structure is also on the table and could impact home health agencies.

At this point, however, most of the health care industry is in a wait-and-see mode.

Written by Amy Baxter

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Amy Baxter
Assistant Editor at Home Health Care News
When not writing about all things home health, Amy fulfills her lifelong dream of becoming a pirate by sailing in regattas and enjoying rum. Fun fact: she sailed 333 miles across Lake Michigan in the Chicago Yacht Club "Race to Mackinac."

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