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 […]

Rural Access to Home Health Services, PACE Among Lawmakers’ Future Spending Priorities

U.S. lawmakers have repeatedly highlighted a need to rethink the nation’s long-term care landscape in recent months, partly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic but also because of the country’s rapidly changing demographics. A recently published budget report from the House Appropriations Committee obtained by Home Health Care News offers further insight into that call […]

Top Clinical Conditions Targeted by Medicare Advantage Plans Under SSBCI

The number of health plans offering some kind of innovative supplemental benefit skyrocketed in the past year, reflective of health care’s increasingly strong focus on the home and social determinants of health. That’s according to a new data brief from actuarial consulting firm Milliman, commissioned by the Better Medicare Alliance (BMA). “This analysis provides unique […]

MA Beneficiaries See Nearly 20% Fewer Home Health Days Than Traditional Medicare Peers

Under the Trump administration, federal health care policymakers have long been vocal about the ability of Medicare Advantage (MA) to lower costs and improve outcomes among vulnerable populations. A recent report from the Washington, D.C.-based Better Medicare Alliance (BMA) and consulting firm Avalere Health is now putting hard numbers on that claim, particularly around home […]

‘Our Work Begins with Getting COVID Under Control’: What a Biden Administration Means for Home-Based Care

After one of the closest and most hotly contested campaigns in modern history, President-Elect Joe Biden addressed the nation on Saturday from an outdoor platform in Wilmington, Delaware. While it’s far too early to say what the first 100 days of a Biden administration will look like from a detailed policy perspective, the president-elect has […]

Medicare Advantage Enrollment Up 125% Among Dual-Eligible Beneficiaries

In-home care providers with a mission to serve particularly vulnerable populations often target “dual eligibles,” or individuals signed up for both Medicare and Medicaid benefits. The focus on dual-eligible populations is partly driven by mission and values, but it’s also supported by reimbursement. While in-home care providers sometimes struggle operating purely in the Medicaid long-term […]

‘There’s No Undoing This Revolution’: HHS Secretary Alex Azar Touts In-Home Care, Virtual Visits

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar believes that COVID-19 has led to a health care revolution, one that will include a larger focus on care in the home. Specifically, Azar thinks the increase in telehealth usage and a stronger focus on social determinants of health will be major influences in […]

As In-Home Care Providers Embrace Medicare Advantage, They’ll Need to Better Manage Vulnerable Populations

For years now, the U.S. health care system has steadily moved away from a fee-for-service environment toward value-based care. Medicare Advantage (MA) growth reflects this shift, particularly when it comes to the wide spectrum of home-based care. Currently, the average home health agency gets about 55% of its funding from fee-for-service Medicare, Medicare Payment Advisory […]

Senior Telehealth Use Continues to Rise, Despite Home Health Limitations

The health care sector has long had the capability to use telehealth, but it took the COVID-19 emergency to prompt widespread adoption. After three months of the crisis, emerging data is now making the sweeping rate of that adoption clearer. Seniors are among the most susceptible to the COVID-19 virus. Recently unveiled data suggests that […]

New CMS Medicare Advantage Rule Creates Incentives for Providers to Invest in Telehealth

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Friday it has finalized changes to Medicare Advantage (MA) and Medicare Part D. The changes — detailed in a final rule for 2021 — partly seek to strengthen access to telehealth services, an increasingly important component of the health care system amid the ongoing coronavirus emergency. […]