Update to Home Health Grouper for COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced a change to the effective date for the new ICD-10 diagnosis code for COVID-19 to April, 1 2020, and issued supplemental guidance. According to the announcement, due to the urgent need to capture the reporting of this condition on  health care  claims and surveillance data,…

CMS Announces Quality Reporting Program Relief

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced new quality reporting program relief for providers, including data submission relief for both home health and hospice providers. For both home health and hospice there are some data that do not need to be submitted, as follows: Deadlines for October 1, 2019 – December 31, 2019 (Q4)…

CMS Addresses Survey Suspension, Survey Priorities and Access to Facilities

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) posted a memo outlining the suspension of some survey activities and current survey priorities. CMS is prioritizing and suspending certain federal and state survey agency (SSA) surveys, and delaying revisit surveys beginning March 20, 2020 for all certified provider and supplier types. Standard surveys for home health agencies…

CMS COVID-19 Call Covers Waivers, Q&A

On Friday, March 20, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) held a call with home health organizations to discuss recent developments related to the novel coronavirus COVID-19.  Even though the call was specific to home health agencies there hospice questions addressed, as well. CMS indicated it plans to hold similar calls weekly, but…

CMS Updates its Medicaid FAQ in Response to Coronavirus

On Wednesday, March 18, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) updated its Medicaid Frequently Asked Questions in response to queries about the novel coronavirus COVID-19. While this is a welcome development and the updated FAQ lists important Medicaid home care supports, it is critical to remember that Medicaid is administered by the states…

CMS Issues Regulatory Waivers in Response to COVID-19

On March 13, 2020, President Trump declared a national emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic. On January 31, 2020, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar declared a national public heath emergency. These  two declaration  permit the  Secretary of HHS to invoke the 1135 waiver authority for  certain federal  regulations  in order…

National Hospice Groups Seek Relief from Congress to Address COVID-19 Concerns

On Tuesday, March 17, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) and other national hospice organizations wrote to key members of Congress urging action to address a wide range of concerns that hospice providers are experiencing in the wake of spread of the COVID-19 virus. While Congress, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid…

July 2020 Refresh of Home Health Compare Will Not Occur

Effective January 1, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)  is processing all Home Health OASIS submissions and all reporting requirements through iQIES. Due to unforeseen circumstances, CMS has determined that there will not be a refresh for the Compare site in July 2020. Thus, CMS will not release the Home Health Provider…

CMS Issues Revised COVID-19 Guidance for Nursing Homes with Clearer Exception for Hospice Workers

NAHC advocacy wins key revision for hospice care The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has revised a memo issued last week to allow hospice workers to access facilities to provide care to patients. Last week NAHC reported on memos released by The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Safety and Oversight Group…

Update on Required Patient Assessment Information for Home Health Claims

A new Medicare Learning Networks article, posted on March 10, reminds home health agency providers (HHAs) what steps need to be taken to ensure claims match the corresponding OASIS assessment, so the claims may be processed and paid. At the beginning of 2020, home health agencies were experiencing issues with the iQIES (Internet Quality Improvement…