National Home Health Spending Reaches All-Time High of $113.5 Billion

National home health spending soared to a whopping $113.5 billion in 2019, according to a new analysis from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of the Actuary published Wednesday in the journal Health Affairs.  While that figure marked another all-time high for home health care, the U.S. government still spent far more […]

Landmark Health Gearing Up for Direct-Contracting Participation

In April 2019, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) rolled out a new suite of direct-contracting payment models, with the goal of accelerating the shift to value-based care. Since then, exactly 51 direct-contracting entities (DCEs) have signed up for either the ”global” or “professional” options. Among them is Huntington Beach, California-based Landmark […]

House Bill Looks to Keep Medicare Sequestration ‘Holiday’ in Place for Home Health Agencies, Others

U.S. Representatives Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) and David McKinley (R-W.Va.) introduced the Medicare Sequester COVID Moratorium Act last week. If passed, the bill would extend the temporary suspension of Medicare sequestration payment reductions, giving home health agencies and other providers more financial flexibility headed into an uncertain 2021. Since 2014, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & […]

CMS Announces New Direct-Contracting Model to Promote ‘Easier Access to Home Care’

In April 2019, federal health care officials unveiled a new direct-contracting payment model to accelerate the shift toward value-based care for U.S. primary care providers. The goal of that model — which has 51 entities already signed up — was to bring a private-sector approach to risk-sharing arrangements in traditional Medicare. The U.S. Centers for […]

New Hospital-at-Home Waiver Program Is ‘Another Step Forward’ for Home-Based Care

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) last week took extraordinary steps toward increasing the U.S. health care system’s capacity by shifting more acute care into the home. In a Wednesday announcement, CMS unveiled new, comprehensive flexibilities that allow hospitals to provide their services “in locations beyond their existing walls.” To secure those flexibilities, […]

Non-Physician Certification in Home Health Care Blocked by State-Level Barriers

Over the past several years, it seems as though the home health industry has been inching closer and closer toward the elimination of Medicare’s strict physician-certification policy. Now — thanks to the CARES Act — nurse practitioners (NPs), physician assistants (PAs) and clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) are able to certify eligibility for home health. While […]

CMS’s Stark Law Changes Could Mean More Value-Based Business for Home Health Operators

In an effort to boost value-based care, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that it has finalized changes to the Physician Self-Referral Law — often referred to as the Stark Law. For home health providers, the changes could mean more opportunities for value-based care arrangements moving forward, experts believe. Broadly, […]

CMS Launches ‘Unprecedented’ Hospital-at-Home Strategy to Manage Latest COVID-19 Surge

In an effort to increase hospital capacity amid the current COVID-19 surge, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Wednesday announced “unprecedented” flexibilities around providing hospital-level care for patients in their homes. Similar to CMS’s recent allowances surrounding telehealth, the agency’s latest efforts are focused on lifting barriers that could potentially hinder […]

CMS to Retire Home Health Compare Next Month

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is moving forward with its plan to retire the old Home Health Compare in favor of a new, multi-setting tool known simply as “Care Compare.” By Dec. 1, CMS will move away from Home Health Compare, Nursing Home Compare, Hospital Compare and the five similar online […]