Xavier Becerra Confirmed as HHS Secretary

The U.S. Senate on Thursday narrowly confirmed California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as the next secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It did so by a 50-49 margin, with the vote playing out almost entirely along party lines. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine was the only Republican who voted to confirm […]

CMS Could Target LUPAs, Functional Impairment in Future PDGM Adjustments

Despite the once-in-a-generation COVID-19 pandemic, the home health industry’s transition to the Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM) was pretty seamless. Looking into the not-too-distant future, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will now likely attempt to make modest tweaks to a handful of key areas, payment experts believe. The agency will do so […]

Biden Administration Includes ‘Home Care Workforce Crisis’ in New Pandemic Plan

President Joe Biden focused on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic during his first full day in office Thursday. In doing so, he once again drew attention to home-based care and getting the current “workforce crisis” under control. “Our national strategy is comprehensive,” Biden said during an address from the White House. “It’s based on science, not […]

Top Home Health, Home Care Legal Concerns for 2021

Wage-and-hour litigation, confusing state-level regulations and an increase in federal audits were among the biggest legal trends of 2020. While many of these issues will remain in the year ahead, 2021 will also bring several more legal hurdles for home-based care providers. The decision of whether to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for home health and home […]

No Funding, Closures and Limited Capacity: Adult Day Providers in Dire Need of Help

In late November, the aging-focused advocacy organization LeadingAge wrote a note to Congress, calling for relief on behalf of the 5,500 adult day service providers across the country and the vulnerable patients they serve. “Adult day services providers across the country urgently need dedicated federal funding to ensure they are able to continue providing services […]

Biden Picks California Attorney General Becerra to Lead HHS, COVID-19 Response

President-elect Joe Biden has picked Xavier Becerra, the current attorney general of California, to lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), according to several news reports. Prior to serving as California’s top prosecutor, Becerra represented the Los Angeles area in Congress for 12 years. HHS is currently headed by Secretary Alex Azar. […]

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 […]