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Action needed: Register for an iQIES Account

The Quality Improvement and Evaluation System (QIES), which providers and vendors use to submit assessment data, is being upgraded to make the system more reliable, scalable, secure, and accessible.  The enhancements will occur in phases (by provider type) and began with Long- Term Care Hospitals (LTCHs) in March 2019, followed by Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRFs)

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Congress Debates Bill to Automate Prior Authorization in Medicare Advantage Plans

Recently the House of Representatives’ Small Business Committee convened for a hearing on utilization management and barriers to care in small medical practices. In particular this hearing focused on the application of prior authorization within Medicare Advantage (MA) plans and the associated challenges faced by patients and providers of services due to prior authorization requirements.

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Home Care Agencies Often Wrongly Deny Medicare Help To The Chronically Ill

Colin Campbell needs help dressing, bathing and moving between his bed and his wheelchair. He has a feeding tube because his partially paralyzed tongue makes swallowing “almost impossible,” he said. Campbell, 58, spends $4,000 a month on home health care services so he can continue to live in his home just outside Los Angeles. Eight

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Increased Enforcement Against Home Health Agencies

With the recent rise in medical services provided outside of a doctor’s office, there has been a surge of FCA enforcement actions against home health agencies (HHAs). HHAs are public or private agencies or organizations that are primarily engaged in providing skilled nursing services and other therapeutic services to patients in their residence.[1] The last

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Medicare decides a cost-saving strategy costs too much

After pushing more medical care out of hospitals and into patients’ homes, the federal government wants to pay less for home health care. Impending changes in Medicare’s home health payment system would dramatically alter how agencies are reimbursed for services, cutting payments by 8 percent. Lower rates would squeeze profit margins in what has been

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Medicare Sequester Extended Two Years

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019, signed into law last week by President Donald J. Trump, includes an extension of the Medicare sequestration cuts for an additional two years. This across the board cut of two percent applies to all Medicare provider payments. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 will increase federal spending by $320

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Take A Look At Latest PDGM Clarifications from CMS

One piece of information you may find surprising from an Aug. 21 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services education call, “Home Health Patient-Driven Groupings Model: Operational Issues,” regards payment hold time. As always, Medicare contractors will hold home health agency claims between Jan. 1 and when system changes get installed — this year, Jan. 6. The period of time is usually

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New Medicare Card: Transition Period Ends in Less Than 5 Months

Members, please pay close attention if you are a Medicare provider. All new Medicare cards have been mailed. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is encouraging providers to use Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers (MBIs) NOW to protect patients’ identities as providers must use MBIs beginning January 1, 2020. Providers claims will get rejected if they submit with Health

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Medicare’s New 'Preclusion List'

By way of background, let’s start with a short Medicare primer. The federal Medicare program is a government health insurance program that pays for certain health care services for individuals who are 65 or over and have paid into Social Security and Medicare through payroll taxes for the required periods; certain younger people with disabilities;

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NAHC Submits Comments to CMS on Proposed Home Health Cost Report Changes

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) and the Home Health Financial Managers Association (HHFMA) submitted comments on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed changes to the home health cost report (Form CMS-1728-19) and cost reporting instructions. On April 16, 2019, the CMS published notice in the Federal Register of plans to revise the

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How will the EMPOWER Care Act affect HHAs?

The Empower Care Act (Ensuring Medicaid Provides Opportunities for Widespread Equity, Resources, and Care) was re-introduced to the senate early in 2019. This bill is intended to expand as well as renew/reauthorize funding and participation in the transitioning of Medicaid beneficiaries from hospital or institutional settings to home and community-based services under the Money Follows

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Program for Evaluating Payment Patterns Electronic Report

New Home Health Agency PEPPER Available The Q4CY18 release of the Home Health Agency (HHA) Program for Evaluating Payment Patterns Electronic Report (PEPPER) with statistics through December 2018 is now available for download through the PEPPER Resources Portal. To obtain your agency’s PEPPER, the Chief Executive Officer, President, Administrator or Compliance Officer should: Review the

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July 2019, Quarterly Release Temporary Hold

Each quarter, the Fiscal Intermediary Shared System (FISS) is updated to include new logic for claims processing, pricing, etc. When the release is installed, Palmetto GBA places a temporary “hold” to ensure the release is installed properly. During this time, claims with dates on service of July 1, 2019, or later will be held in

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CMS Releases Additional Instructions for Claims under PDGM

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released a second set of revisions to Chapter 10 of the Medicare Claims Processing Manual providing instructions to home health agencies for claims submission under PDGM. CMS Transmittal 4294/Change Request (CR) 11272, Home Health (HH) Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM) – Additional Manual Instructions, provides some clarity

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Renewal of the HHCCN

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved the Home Health Change of Care (HHCCN) Form, CMS-10280.  Effective July 1, 2019, all Home Health Agencies (HHA) will be required to use the renewed form with the expiration date of 4/30/2022 on the bottom.  Please note that HHAs may continue to use the old form

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Information About Home Health Ordering/Referring/Attending Physician Adjustments

From October 1, 2018, through April 22, 2019, the home health ordering/referring/attending physician reason code 32072 was not editing correctly. This allowed claims containing a terminated attending physician to incorrectly pay. These claims should have denied. In the beginning of May, a Fiscal Intermediary Shared System (FISS) utility was initiated to adjust claims that should

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Bill to Permit Non-Physician Practitioners to Certify Medicare Home Health Orders Introduced in the House

A bipartisan group of legislators introduced a bill in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, April 9, to allow non-physician practitioners to certify home health orders under Medicare. Commonly referred to as the “NPP bill”, the legislation would extend certification authority to nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurse midwives, and clinical nurse specialists. These NPPs play

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Eliminate Home Health Billing Errors

Home health agencies face unique obstacles when it comes to billing practices. Medicare reimbursements focus on regulatory reporting compliance, meeting quality initiatives, and submission of appropriate documentation, just to name a few. Billing errors cost home health agencies significant amounts, not only in reduced reimbursements, but in penalties if mistakes occur. Eliminate those home health

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Home Care Executive Forecast: 2019 Trends, Challenges, Opportunities

From an ongoing labor crunch to evolving Medicare Advantage opportunities, U.S. home care providers face numerous challenges but also exciting opportunities heading into 2019. Many private-duty players anticipate tech investments and increasing integration with the overall health care system, as revealed in these forecasts from CEOs and upper level executives. In 2019, older adults and

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New HHA's under Provision Period of Enhanced Oversight

According to MLN Matters Number SE19005, release date February 15, 2019 new home health agencies in Medicare programs will be placed under a provisional period of enhanced oversight. What does that mean for you and your business? The new statute focuses on Requests for Anticipated Payments (RAPs) from home healthcare agencies. The Centers for Medicare